Guest Blog

Blog Tour: Zaria Fierce Birthday Party: Food, Games, Costumes


Zaria Fierce Birthday Party: Food, Games, Costumes

I’m thrilled to be taking over Danissa’s blog again. My name is Keira Gillett and I’m the author behind the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. This past week I released book two in the trilogy. Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword continues where the first book left off and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Today is a very exciting day and I super stoked. Do you know what day it is? It’s Zaria’s birthday! She was born on 11/11. To celebrate both the release and her birthday, I’m going to discuss how to throw a themed birthday bash in her honor.

Are you ready to turn your next birthday into a Fabulously Fierce Extravaganza?


The Zaria Fierce Trilogy takes place in Norway and includes mentions for all sorts of situations one might find oneself in when trying to outsmart a wicked river-troll. You’re going to get hungry. Between the two books we’ve had a lazy weekend of soup and reading, late nights around campfires with spitted wild rabbits, MREs (meals-ready-to-eat), shortbread cookies and tea, a seafood feast amongst giants, scrambled eggs and sausages on a tall ship, mystery meat on a bone, and more.

  • Skewers – You can create your own “mystery meat on a bone” or “spitted wild rabbits” or seafood feast by creating skewers. Use whatever meat you’re happiest eating. I suggest trying one of these recipes: Wild Rabbit Skewers, Rabbit and Sausage Skewers, or Salmon Skewers. Let me know how it goes. Bonus: Cook them over a campfire!
  • Shortbread Cookies – Get the whole party together to make some delicious shortbread cookies. This is my mom’s neighbor’s recipe and it’s super delicious. Bonus: Have a frosting party and design your cookies with frosting.

neighbor's shortbread recipe

  • Breakfast for Dinner – Design your birthday feast around the concept of breakfast for dinner. You can make scrambled eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes, sausage, and omelets – whatever you like! It’s going to be delicious.
  • Homemade Beef, Chicken, or Vegetable Soup – One of Zaria’s favorite meals is soup. You can make your beef, chicken, or vegetable soup very easily. Grab beef, chicken, or vegetable stock, your preferred meat (if any), and your choice of the following: a couple of red potatoes or canned slice white potatoes, red or green bell peppers, fresh/frozen mushrooms, asparagus, snow peas, canned dice tomatoes, an sweet or white onion, and fresh/canned carrots. Chop up all the vegetables and put them in the pot. Dice the meat, sprinkle with a little flour and salt, pan fry in a bit of butter, then toss into the pot. Add spices to taste: rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, a bay leaf, parsley, tarragon, sage, black pepper, salt, and whatever else you think would be good! I like to pair it with fresh baked rolls for dipping.

beef soup


No themed birthday is complete without costumes and Zaria Fierce offers up a lot of options. Below is a quick list of various characters and fantasy creatures you could be. Eoghan Kerrigan’s illustrations for the Zaria books are fabulous with lots of details. I would recommend looking to these for inspiration.

  • Zaria Fierce – Two outfits come to mind for me when I think about Zaria – her birthday outfit from the first book and her tunic/legging outfit from the second. Braid your hair and voila – you are good to go!

Keira Gillett as Zaria

kg as zf

  • Aleks Mickelsen – You’ll need to make some slightly pointy ears. This is a great tutorial on how to fuse your plastic bags into fabric. Then dress normally, Aleks likes to be normal.
  • Christoffer Johansen – Spike your hair and dress Sunday casual. You’re the teacher’s son and you have to present yourself well.
  • Filip Storstrand – Throw on a plaid shirt and jeans and sneakers and you’re good to go.
  • Geirr Englasted – Dress up in your most preppy outfit. Geirr likes to look crisp and clean and wears button downs.
  • Hector Woodworth – Create a white faux fur cloak with a hood. Attach to the hood gold antlers (spray painted tree branches would work), dress for the outdoors, and if you’re older wear a (blond) beard and mustache.
  • Olaf – Dress in rags, cover your skin with muddy blue-brown skin paint, create webbed gloves to makeover your hands, give yourself a large nose, and wear a shaggy brown wig.
  • Giant – Dress in gray or blue, cover your skin with blue/gray skin paint (try to create a rock or marble texture), talk very slowly, and give yourself a large name – like (Insert Your Name) the Extravagant.
  • Dwarf – Dress in layers of brown, put on brown boots, wear a cool belt, and a cloak.
  • Master/Madam Brown – Dress in brown, put on an apron, and use blue skin paint on your face and hands.
  • Elf – You can fashion pointy ears out of plastic bags. Then dress in your most vintage clothes. The elves like the Victorian period the most.
  • Fairy – Dress like you’re royalty and talk in superior accents all night. If you want to be more fox-like this is a great idea for your makeup. You’ll also need very pointy ears.
  • Ellefolken – As you know, ellefolken are the elk-folk. They look human until they transform (into elk or tree), but it’s more fun to go a little wild with it. Here is a pin on Pinterest that I think is fun: deer/fawn makeup look Put tree branches in your hair to make antlers (or wear a faux set of the more traditional antler look).

Here’s a short video of Michele Carpenter (narrator of the Zaria books) where she’s dressed like an Ellefolken:

Isn’t Michele just awesome? I love it!

  • Norwick – Dress in white and gray, or snow leopard print clothes, preferably with a layer of faux fur on you somewhere. Then use the plastic bag tutorial above to create fabric to build your own bat wings. This is a clever idea for face paint to complete the look.

Activities and Games:

Now let’s move on to some fun and games. Here are several ideas of what you can do on your special day. Mix and match to create the perfect birthday party.

  • Camp out under the stars/Camp out in the living room – Let’s make the night an adventure and set up camp with actual tents or pillow and blanket forts.
  • Do silly makeovers – Zaria had a blast doing this to her friends, especially because she put it on to be funny looking. No peaking at yourself until after everyone is done!
  • Braid hair – Zaria loves to wear her hair in braids. Why don’t you and your friends learn how to do some fun braids on each other? Practice how to do it on yourself too!
  • Read-a-long – Get together and take turns reading Zaria Fierce or listening to Michele Carpenter read it.
  • Create a map of magical Norway – Your house and neighborhood become Norway with all its magical realms. You can set up activities at each station or use it for a…
  • Scavenger hunt – Find the Hart of Gloomwood Forest, using your map for a guide and creating clues to get to the Hart.
  • Create an arrow-heart necklace – Use some construction paper or colored clay, string/cord, and beads to design your own arrow-heart necklace. If you use the clay, have adult supervision for when you bake it in the oven.
  • Coloring – Michele Carpenter has drawn some fantastic coloring pages for the trilogy. Print these out and color them. Or create your own artwork for the books. Be sure to share with me!
  • Cannonball competition – Got a pool? See who can make the biggest splash. Have the giants (adults) judge.
  • Wild Hunt – Call a Wild Hunt (hide and seek) and see who is the best at finding your friends. I always loved playing it in the dark. If you are having a pool party play Marco-Polo (silently if you want to make it more difficult).
  • Rock-climbing – Go to a rock-climbing gym and race to see who can get to the top.
  • Dance party – Stay in and host a dance party. Make sure your music is eclectic because giants like everything!
  • Fey challenges – Come up with your own versions of strength, endurance, and intelligence or recreate them exactly as they are in the book. Best two of three wins.
  • Create your own Drakeland Sword – Get foam and felt from your local craft store and design your own sword. Have a mock fight with your friends when you’re done!
  • Make your own kettupeli board – This was a lot of fun to do. My sister is currently painting my board (I can’t wait to see the final look!). I bought everything for around $30 from a craft store. You’ll need – 52 empty spools, 51 small dowels, 51 small clothespins, 51 black seed beads, a small box that can hold everything, and hot glue. Leave it plain or decorate with paint.

kettupeli board game

And there you have it – all the trappings to make a fabulous Zaria Fierce Birthday Party! If you host one be sure to send me your pictures! I would love to see them. My contact information can be found on my website.
Have you ever done a book themed birthday party before? Share the details in the comments section below.

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland SwordBook Two in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy

Summary: If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

Release Date: November 6, 2015

Available in E-book, Paperback, and Audiobook (Coming Soon)

Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest (Book 1):

“Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers.” Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal

“A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today’s technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.” Kathy Haw, Goodreads Review

“A great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delight of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it.” Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book

“If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy, look no further. This book kept me on my toes with its many cliffhangers and plot twists; it was quite hard to put down at times.” Meredith, All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff

“I love when a story jumps right in and hooks me like this one did. I highly recommend you look into it if you are in the mood for a fun adventure. I also recommend that you get it for any book loving middle schooler you know.” Emily, Midwestern Book Nerd


Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.

“How’re you getting down?”

“Hopefully with your stargazer.”

“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.

“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.

She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”

Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.

“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”

Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.

Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.

At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.

Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”


Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.


Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (zariafierce)

Michele CarpenterNarrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”


Social Media: Twitter (michelecvoice), Facebook (michelecarpentervoice), YouTube (micheleyoutube)


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