Cover Reveal: Trouble Fires Burn (The Netherfeld Trilogy #3) by Amber Elby

Trouble Fires Burn (The Netherfeld Trilogy #3) by author Amber Elby

Start the series today with

Cauldron’s Bubble (The Netherfeld Trilogy #1) for $0.99 on Amazon

Free on Kindle Unlimited

Double Double Toil (The Netherfeld Trilogy #2) for $2.99 on Amazon

Book Release Date:

Trouble Fires Burn will be available on Amazon on August 19 and all other booksellers after September 1

Tags of those involved:

Brandi Harrison of TypeJar Studio made the cover art @typejarstudio
Montgomery Sutton of Shakespeare Dallas wrote the back cover blurb @montgomerysutto
Carol Beth (goes by Beth) Anderson will be the special guest at my launch party @cbethanderson


After Cauldron’s Bubble, after Double Double Toil, and after a devastating flood, Alda and Dreng find themselves lost in a realm of nothing, facing revived enemies and unexpected perils. They must rely on wit and magic to evade deadly sorcerers and overpower weird witches. Old friends come to their aid, although not always for honest reasons. Sycorax and Caliban, Prospero and Miranda, who can be trusted, and who will betray or be betrayed? Can Alda and Dreng distinguish their allies from their enemies and truth from lies in time to defeat their foes and finally rest in peace? Or will their fate lie in the grave? Not all will survive… but can they save their world and the realms beyond? Or will all fall to insidious doom?

Trouble Fires Burn further illuminates the worlds of Shakespeare, returning to the universe of Cauldron’s Bubble and Double Double Toil while exploring new themes and conflicts, intertwining the plays in a reinterpretation of the Bard’s characters and plots combined with original elements. Acclaimed author Amber Elby appeals to new readers and established Bard fans alike as she weaves Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo & Juliet, and other well-loved tales into a fast-paced, engaging fantasy world with surprising twists and turns. Join the journey that began in Cauldron’s Bubble and Double Double Toil. Read on…

Book Launch Party:
The launch party will be held on Sunday, September 29 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Malvern Books in Austin, Texas. “Join author Amber Elby to celebrate the release of her third novel, Trouble Fires Burn, a fantasy adventure based on the plays of William Shakespeare. Amber and special guest Carol Beth Anderson, author of the Sun-Blessed Trilogy, will read excerpts from their novels and answer audience questions. Signed books available for purchase. See Facebook for more information.”

Meet the Author:

Amber Elby was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan but spent much of her childhood in the United Kingdom. She began writing when she was three years old and created miniature books by asking her family how to spell every, single, word. Several years later, she saw her first Shakespearean comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, in London. Many years later, she studied Creative Writing at Michigan State University’s Honors College before earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently resides in Texas with her husband and two daughters and spends her time teaching, traveling, and getting lost in imaginary worlds.

Twitter: @amberelby


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Photo Tour with author Amber Elby!

Grand Ledge, a small town in central Michigan, is unassuming.  Visitors today may know it as the city that hosts the annual Island Art Fair or Mudge’s Follies variety show, a quaint place with an antiquated main street and several parks lining the Grand River.  


Long ago, Grand Ledge was a tourist destination with a vibrant resort and a variety of attractions.  None – or at least very little – of that remains.  The city of today is also the city of my childhood, a town trapped in unchanging time.


Bridge Street


Bridge Street is the main street of Grand Ledge, the north/south route that leads across the Grand River.  I remember the current bridge being built when I was a child.  During construction, we crossed the river on a temporary wooden bridge that terrifyingly swayed as we drove across.  


The Grand Ledge Public Library


Back in the time before the internet, the library was the only place to find books or information.  The décor is nearly identical to when I was a child, and they still have the same collections that I frequented in high school.  


The Sun Theater


The Sun is a reprieve from modern cinemas.  It offers recent runs of films for a few dollars and is a place where you can still get a popcorn, soda (or “pop” as we call it), AND candy for under $5.  There are single restrooms and a single screen.  Despite its small size, the theater is romantic and nostalgic, the place where I saw nearly every film from Jurassic Park to Gladiator and where I first experienced love and independence and the creative stirrings that led to my life as a writer.


The Ledge Path


This path spans from the island to Fitzgerald Park, which was a former spiritualist campground in the late nineteenth century.  When I was in elementary school, we walked this path yearly and heard oral histories about buried treasure and plagues brought by European settlers and myths of the islands’ creation.  The path has been somewhat neglected since my childhood and is difficult to navigate in parts, but it is still beautiful.

 Sandstone Creek


Sandstone Creek branches off from the south side of the Grand River and was once part of the appeal of Grand Ledge, popular with picnicking tourists.  When I was a child, I caught crayfish in its waters and once found a petosky stone, which is the state stone of Michigan.  The creek is rather desolate today and unknown by many visitors and locals.  


Oak Park


Across the river from Sandstone Creek, Oak Park boasts some of the most popular rock climbing cliffs in Michigan.  It also contains many fabulous pieces of nineteenth and early twentieth century graffiti, including an intricate carving of a mermaid and my grandmother’s name, Arleta, immortalized by a former lover.  There is a carved spiral as well, which is part of how I tied this town to my imaginary world in Cauldron’s Bubble.  


Lincoln Brick Park


In addition to tourism, Grand Ledge was once a town of industry.  It was home to a clayworks plant, a chair factory, and a brick factory.  Lincoln Brick Park houses the ruins of the brickmakers, as well as a quarry that became a swimming hole after workers struck a spring.  When I was a child, I searched for fossils along the quarry’s banks.


The Cemetery


Oakwood Cemetery sits atop a hill on the far north side of Grand Ledge.  I used to play saxophone in band concerts here during Memorial Day ceremonies.  This is the cemetery where Alda’s grandmother is fictionally buried, and it is known that bodies of those who died in winter – before modern gravediggingequipment was used – had to be stored in mausoleums until the ground thawed.


The Island


The Second Island is the only one of the seven islands that is accessible today.  It is actually a combination of two islands, tied together with a jetty where a rollercoaster once spanned the gap between.  The gazebo stands on the site of Mudge’s Hotel, a circular tower that was planned to have a whirligig on top, until its foundation was damaged by a flood.  Apart from that hotel’s foundation, no other evidence of the original resort remains on the island.  


Amber Elby will be hosting her book launch for Double Double Toul in Austin, Texas at Malvern Books on October 14 at 2:00 p.m. She will also be at the Mid-Cities Teen Book Fest at North Richland Hills Library in Texas on October 20 from 11:00 to 5:00!


Six months after the events of Cauldron’s Bubble, Alda is stranded in her remote cottage, unable to recreate the magical object that allows her to travel between time and place.  Meanwhile, Dreng’s home with Miranda on a distant island begins to crumble.  They both escape to Fairy Land, where they become embroiled in a battle of immortals as the clans of Queen Titania and King Oberon fight for supremacy.  In order to evade capture and return to their worlds, Dreng must rely on his adversary, Caliban, while Alda discovers an ally in the mysterious Ophelia.  In a realm where only humans can die, will Alda and Dreng save themselves and, more importantly, each other?  Or will they succumb to the fantastical powers in play?  


Double Double Toil continues to build on the world introducedin Cauldron’s Bubble by intertwining Shakespeare’s plays in a unique and exciting way, introducing their stories to new readers and established Bard fans alike.  Elements and characters from Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet combine in this fast-paced tale of magic and adventure.  Read on…


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Guest Post: A Journey from Teaching to Writing by Amber Elby

Hello all you lovelies checking in on Beyond the Stars! I recently had the pleasure of working Amber Elby, who is the author of Cauldron’s Bubble! I recently did a review of Cauldron’s Bubble, which you can find here, and Amber agreed to come on the blog with a Guest Post.

I am probably too relaxed honestly, but I told Amber I had no preference on what she posted, all I wanted was to ensure that she was happy with what she sent me. She sent me a list of options and I chose one that hits close to home for me.

I am actually in school right now getting my Bachelor’s degree and I will have an emphasis in education. I am preparing to take my practice PPR and possibly teach after graduation. Obviously I love reading, so I have thought about writing as well, but I am not very good at it. But enough behind my reasoning.

I would like to welcome Amber Elby to the blog and thank her for joining us here today!


A Journey from Teaching to Writing

by Amber Elby

I never expected to be a teacher, especially not a high school teacher.  But as I approached graduation, it became clear that I could not find employment in my degree field.  My timing was terrible: I was about to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting during the height of the Writers’ Strike, a period when every screenwriter was essentially unemployed.  I knew I had to do something if I wanted a job.

To be clear, teaching is the most noble profession, and I have the greatest respect for teachers.  It’s difficult, and it takes years of training to do it well.  Even though both of my parents were teachers, I took a different path with my education and focused instead on writing.

But when I realized that I could not immediately pursue a career in writing, I went to night school and earned a teaching certificate to complement my undergraduate degree in English.  Austin had a teacher shortage at the time, so one week before graduation, I attended a job fair and landed a position teaching English and Screenwriting at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, the city’s academic magnet school.

Within a few months, I went from writing dozens of script pages each week to the more challenging task of teaching American teenagers how to appreciate Beowulf and The Odyssey.  The problem was that I never really stopped writing, at least not in my head.  Even though my days were spent managing my classroom and my nights were a constant grading spree, I imagined stories that were inspired by my environment.

The students themselves helped this creativity with their curiosity and questions, continually sharing events from their personal lives.  I listened to their concerns and joys, their speech patterns and dramas and angst, and they helped form characters in my heads.  I listened to tales of their vacations and siblings and awkward dates, their parents and sports teams, and I listened to what they loved about literature and what they hated.

You see, young people have little agency when it comes to the literature they consume.  If they are lucky enough to have free time, they may be able to read one or two books each semester.  Yet if they are like the vast majority of high school students, their free time is spent whirling between extracurricular activities because their goal is college, and college applications ask if students are in track or choir, not how many books they read.  So reading falls to the wayside, at least reading for pleasure, and students only consume the required texts for class.

And honestly, many required readings are boring.  Well, they’re not boring so much as inaccessible.  So much of a teacher’s time is spent simply trying to get students to understand a literary work – its archaic language and antiquated allusions – that there is little time left to actually discuss and appreciate the text.  As a high school teacher, I soon found myself moving away from traditional “this word means this” and “here is another metaphor” education strategies and back to my creative writing roots; we discussed characters’ motivations, plot structure, conflict, arcs, and in doing so, we enlivened our learning environment and made a deeper connection with the literature because we could actually relate to the stories.  The students learned how to make literature come to life: the characters became real people with whom they could relate, and the students in turn took control over their literary education.

I would like to say this strategy of combining writing theory with literature worked and that I had one of those “Captain, my captain” moments, but the truth is that I quit teaching high school after two years.  As I said, it’s difficult.  Like many K-12 teachers, I could not endure the long hours, stress, and inadequate pay, so I instead moved to the community college where I still teach.  Now, my focus is more on the literature itself and less on the students simply because our classes are shorter and transitory, so I instead appreciate and explore conventions like syntax and setting and listen less to stories about my students’ pets and parties.  But I still often find myself thinking back to the time when I began my teaching career.

Remember that teachers are the bridge between young people and knowledge.  A teacher’s job is to take basic understanding and mold it into lasting, deep comprehension.  But it is also their job to turn young people into kind and functioning adults.  So every day, teachers build worlds inside students’ heads and motivate dramatic personal change, much the same way that authors create new civilizations and develop dynamic characters.  Teachers and writers are one in the same, in many ways.

My advice is simple: if you are a teacher and want to become an author, think about your students.  Be inspired by them.  Consider what they enjoy about reading and what they observe when they read.  By doing so, you can create characters that speak to young people like your students, and you can spur students into listening to texts and to themselves.  Also remember to never stop learning, or imagining.


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Meet Amber Elby

Amber Elby 2_20.jpg

Amber Elby was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan but spent much of her childhood in the United Kingdom.  She began writing when she was three years old and created miniature books by asking her family how to spell every, single, word.  Several years later, she saw her first Shakespearean comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, in London.  Many years later, she studied Creative Writing at Michigan State University’s Honors College before earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin.  She currently resides in Texas with her husband and two daughters and spends her time teaching, traveling, and getting lost in imaginary worlds.


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Review: Cauldron’s Bubble (The Netherfeld Trilogy #1) by Amber Elby

I received a copy of Cauldron’s Bubble via Amber Elby, the author, in exchange for an honest review.


Links to Purchase:


Barnes and Noble

Book Details:

205 Pages

Published: August 6, 2017

Author: Amber Elby


Synopsis: “A magical bubble transports Alda through time and place to a realm of witches and curses, pirates and princes, and the lost worlds of Shakespeare. She, along with a cabin boy called Dreng, must navigate the conflicts and characters of Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest. But will they escape with their lives? Or will they become lost and forgotten?”

Imagine that Shakespeare’s characters could interact off-stage and that their adventures could span beyond the bounds of the Bard’s fiction: Hamlet deviously escapes from the pirates who capture him on the way to England; Macbeth’s witches perform their magic on unsuspecting victims; and a summoner awakes from the shadowy backstory of The Tempest, bent on revenge against those who stole her island. These stories and more come to life in Cauldron’s Bubble as readers follow two new protagonists, an orphan named Alda and a cabin boy called Dreng, as they each search for something lost. The novel alternates between their limited perspectives (third person) as Alda discovers a magical bubble that transports her to Macbeth’s witches on the moor. Dreng, meanwhile, helps Prince Hamlet escape from pirates en route to England. The two protagonists come together on Prospero’s enchanted island, where Alda is on a quest to free Ariel, and Dreng is smitten with the mysterious Miranda. Ultimately, Alda must find power she gained in a forgotten realm called Netherfeld to defeat a powerful summoner, and Dreng must awake to the realities around him before he is consumed by magic.

*The sequel, entitled Double Double Toil, will be released on October 1! Stay tuned to my Twitter feed for information about ARCs!


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Opinion: I was hesitant going into it because there really wasn’t a large synopsis. You can find a longer version on Goodreads of course, but the books version is minimal. I was worried it was going to be geared more for a younger crowd (Sorry Amber), but that was my initial judgement based on the information that was available to me. Obviously, I was very wrong.

Talk about a unique story. I was extremely impressed by Amber’s use of extensive vocabulary and wonderful descriptive nouns. Cauldron’s Bubble is captivating, to say the least. It is extremely hard to put down because you just want to keep reading. You want to know what is going to happen and to see how the story is going to come together in the end. You want to see how Amber is going to bring Dreng and Alda together in the end.

I will admit, I had not read the Shakespeare stories that are the influence behind Cauldron’s Bubble. The three main influences are Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Temptest. Although I had not read them, I felt that that affected my understanding minimally. There were times when I felt that that background knowledge would have benefited me, but it was not necessary.

Ms. Elby left us with a bit of a cliffhanger ending there. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a mixture of mystery, action, and adventure. It definitely combines all of these aspects as we journey with Dreng and Alda. Who, by the way, were my OTP (one true pairing). You’ll have to read to see if I was onto something, or not.

I am so looking forward to the next installment in the series, Double Double Toil.


My Overall Rating: ★★★★


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