Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 Readers’ Favorite Christian Finalists Giveaway


I’m excited to bring you yet another giveaway! I’ve teamed up with four other authors who are finalists in various Christian categories of the Readers’ Favorite Book Award Contest to offer this collection of books, including Resistance. And not just one, but 3 winners will be chosen! Just enter using the form below!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Author Interview–Morgan Elizabeth Huneke + Giveaway

Today I have my friend and fellow author, Morgan Elizabeth Huneke, here for an interview. She already had two great children’s books published, one of which she is giving away at the end of this post. If you like The Chronicles of Narnia, you should check it out. That’s what it reminded me of. But first, the interview!

1. What inspired you to write Across the Stars and The Experiment?

Across the Stars was inspired by wanting to tell my sisters a story. I’m really not sure where I got the idea for the story from. The spaceship likely originated in Star Wars, there is quite a bit of Narnian influence, and the dungeon most definitely came from The Tale of Despereaux, but I’m not really sure what sparked it or made it come together.

For The Experiment, on the other hand, I know exactly where it came from. It came from two separate dreams that I worked into two plots that I decided to weave into one story when I realized they were really like two sides of the same event. An episode of Gilligan’s Island was also instrumental in the development. The dream that inspired the Rubins’ side of the story came from a dream about being chased by a creepy guy and saved by a young man called Linus. Somehow, that became connected with the Gilligan’s Island episode about the mad scientist who switched the castaways’ minds around and so an evil scientist became an important part of The Experiment. America was also a huge influence in the story. I certainly would never have written it if America wasn’t headed downhill the way it is. I took what is happening in America, particularly in the schools, and extrapolated it into the future, and then worked to save it. I only wish it was as easy to save America in real life as it is to write a solution.

2. Which of your characters would you most love to spend the day with?

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Probably Felix Walker from Across the Stars. He such a gentleman and I love that. He has a strong character, due to having to stand up to his father on things of Biblical principle. And he talks in book language. He’s just an awesome character all round, though he is a bit on the too perfect side.

3. Creating and working with characters is my favorite part of writing. What is yours?

I think it would have to be the characters for me too. I love the plots and the settings, though I hate just sitting down to worldbuild, preferring to do it as needed when writing, but the characters are the best. I struggled with my current project, Time Captives, for about a year because the characters just weren’t working. Now that I have fixed the character problems, I’m absolutely loving writing it. It’s so much fun to create new characters and follow their lives.

4. I love it when I can find just the right “casting” choice for my characters because it helps clarify them in my mind. Do you have any casting choices for your characters? If so, who are some of the main ones?

I don’t really have any for Across the Stars or The Experiment, though I do think it would be cool, if Across the Stars was ever made into a movie, for at least some of the Watsons to be real homeschooled siblings. Not that that is likely ever to happen, but I like to imagine it. A lot of the characters in The Experiment are based on or inspired by my family and friends, so that’s who I think of for them. For my WIP Time Captives, I mostly just have random pictures I found on Pinterest for characters, but for one elf, Estranna, Lilliandil from the movie of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is perfect. Also, for a companion story called Espionage, a young Lexi Johnson looks just like the main character.

5. For me, actually getting my stories written is the hardest part of writing. Planning, rewriting, and editing are much easier. What is your least favorite or hardest part of the writing process?

I think we are very much alike in our writing processes, and in other things. It is very hard to get the story out of my head and down on paper. I used to never plan on paper, but I did always have a general idea of what was going to happen that I don’t remember ever exerting much effort to figure out. I plan more now, but it still hasn’t been that hard. Rewriting eight chapters for the fourth time on Creighton Hill, book one of Time Captives, was extremely unpleasant, but it wasn’t terribly difficult. And editing is pretty easy. So the hardest part would be putting it in tangible form for the first time ever.

6. Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress or what’s next for your writing and publishing plans?

My current WIP is a fantasy trilogy called Time Captives. Here is the logline for the trilogy:

In a perilous quest that spans two worlds, four siblings must team up with their long-lost ancestors and a rebellious slave to deliver an enslaved people from the cruel strytes who invaded their land.

One of the most interesting concepts in the story is that the “ancestors” have been frozen in time for as long as they have been in the world of Calhortea in a manner similar to that in Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. It has been interesting to delve into what that would do to someone, to watch the world move on around you while remaining a child indefinitely. And I’m pretty sure Doctor Who has played at least a minor role in how I have developed that idea, at least in regards to one specific character.

I’m just about done rewriting the second book. Then I can jump into writing the third book for the first time. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to publish the first book, Creighton Hill, but I’m thinking something like the beginning of next year.

7. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?

Reading, naturally. I also love playing the violin and I like sewing, when I’m not sick of it. I don’t suppose babysitting counts as a hobby, but it is something I love to do. What can I say? I love kids. I’m also very involved in politics with my family. And I randomly sing Disney songs, particularly from Tangled and Frozen.

8. What are some of your favorite books?

Most definitely The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Those books have been my top favorites since I first read them when I was little. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is another book I have always loved. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare are some of my favorite historical fiction. Of course, there are many many others that I could list, but I’ll finish with my most recent favorite, a story which you know much better than I: Resistance.

9. What are three random facts about you that most people probably wouldn’t know?

1. I only have a handful of pairs of shoes, and I prefer it that way. I really don’t like shoes that much, they’re too clunky, but I especially hate dress shoes and high heels. High heels make me feel incredibly instable.

2. When I was little, I wanted to be a detective. I also briefly wanted to be a cheerleader, though I’m really not sure why. I’m glad that passed.

3. Sometimes I read the dictionary. Just to read it.

10. And finally, what advice would you give other authors seeking to publish?

Before seeking to publish, I recommend having several people outside of your family read and critique your story. If others think it is worth publishing, and you still like it, go for it, but don’t expect it to be easy. Whether you go independent or traditional, it’s going to be hard. And don’t just publish to make money. If that’s what you’re doing it for, you most likely will be disappointed. But if you’re doing it for God’s glory and to share your story with others, you will be pleased with however much or little success you have.

Thanks for having me!

So nice to have you here for the interview, Morgan! And I’m really looking forward to Time Captives!

Here now is a bit more about Morgan and her books, and then, of course, the giveaway!

Morgan C adjusted (2)

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia.  She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood.  Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars, a sci-fi fantasy adventure for children and The Experiment, a children’s political thriller with a sci-fi twist. You can find out more at her website, and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.


Across The Stars Front Cover 2


Across the Stars: After discovering a spaceship that takes them to a planet two galaxies away, five children must use their combined knowledge of battle strategy and American history to free the distant planet from the oppressive tyrant which is its king.




The Experiment Cover 3 Front



The Experiment: In a future where American liberty has been eradicated, kidnapped siblings must overturn a plot by the President and a torture-loving scientist to control the lives and minds of the American people . . . before it's too late.





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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Resistance is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist!

finalist-seal-print small

I’m so excited I hardly know what to say right now. Resistance is one of six finalists in the Christian Fantasy/Sci-Fi category in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this news since I entered it in May. The finalists were supposed to be announced on July 1st, but they had so many entries this year, that they needed an extra two weeks to make their final selections. You can imagine how anxious I was those two weeks, especially yesterday. I kept checking my email through the day, thinking I wouldn’t get it until today, but then, right before I was about to go to bed, the email came. Oh my goodness, my heart was beating so fast. I sat for a moment wondering if I should even look at it. After all, if I didn’t make it, I’d have to try to sleep while dealing with the disappointment. But I’d be up all night wondering anyway, so I opened the email, read it carefully, held my breath, and clicked on the finalists link. I was still holding my breath as I scrolled through what felt like an endless number of categories before I finally reached Christian Fantasy. And there, right at the top of the list, was my name. I think I let out a little squeak and looked over at my mom to exclaim something along the lines of, “I’m a finalist!” I was so excited I could barely contain myself.


I can still hardly believe it. I’ve never entered any of my work in a contest before, and to be a finalist in one so large is incredible. I mean, Jim Carrey is a finalist in one of the children’s book categories. How cool is that? I think I’m going to be in a bit of a daze for the next day or two. And, of course, now the anxious waiting begins for the announcement of the winners on September 1st. I can hardly wait for that. Thank you SO much to everyone who’s been such an encouragement to me while I’ve been writing and publishing Ilyon Chronicles. I’m so excited to see how God uses the entire series and where it takes me in the future.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Author Interview–Melody Jackson + Giveaway

Long ago, war broke the bond of peace between dragons and humans. Now, something greater threatens their very existence, and one girl must reunite old foes to fight it off, all while keeping in mind where the true enemy lies: within.

Sounds like an intriguing story, doesn’t it? Today I am excited to introduce author Melody Jackson and have her here for an interview. Melody just published her first novel, The Dragon Within. Besides answering a few questions, she is also giving away a free ebook copy of the book, so make sure to enter at the end of the interview!

1. What inspired you to write The Dragon Within?

Well, I'd wanted to write a novel with dragons in it for several years, but never had a good idea. Then one night three years ago I had a dream about a girl in a fantasy world where dragons fought against each other, but she was trying to get them to make peace. Although "The Dragon Within" turned out quite different from that original dream, it sparked the idea I needed to start it. I think it's kind of funny because a dream is what gave me the idea for the second book as well, which I'm currently working on. I give God all the credit for it, because I know He's the one who gave me the dreams, so He must've wanted me to write these books, and that means no matter how successful or unsuccessful they are, it's all in His hands.

2. Which of your characters would you most love to spend the day with?

Ooh, tough questions! I'd love to spend the day with all (well, almost all) of my characters, but if I had to choose, it'd probably be Toran. He's a much deeper character than I think is even displayed in the book, and I'd love to spend a day with him riding dragons and probably listening to him crack lame jokes, haha. 

3. Creating and working with characters is my favorite part of writing. What is yours?

I think I'd have to agree with you; my favorite part is what I call the "discovery" stage. Learning who the characters are, and what their stories will turn out to be often excites me more than writing it. :) That's actually the stage I'm at with the second book, and it's been so intriguing learning my characters and what makes them so unique. It's like they're real people living in my head who I'm just now getting to know, and it's definitely my favorite part of the whole process.

4. I love it when I can find just the right “casting” choice for my characters because it helps clarify them in my mind. Do you have any casting choices for your characters? If so, who are some of the main ones?

I didn't do this much with my first book, as I didn't have Pinterest then, but now I definitely like to find pictures to support or inspire my images of the characters. I do have a couple pins and boards of characters from "The Dragon Within", and I'm using it a lot more for inspiration for my second book.
As far as casting roles, like for a movie, I haven't truly delved into that much because I am not familiar with a ton of actors and have a hard time picturing who could play what role. I'll probably get caught up in it sooner or later though, haha.

5. For me, actually getting my stories written is the hardest part of writing. Planning, rewriting, and editing are much easier. What is your least favorite or hardest part of the writing process?

Formatting the book. Don't even get me started on the horrors Microsoft Word inflicted on my precious document. It took about a week after the document was "finished" to work out and then fix all the terrible formatting Word insisted my novel needed. But I found this wonderful program called Scrivener which made it so much easier to format; instead of a week, it only took a day!

6. Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress or what’s next for your writing and publishing plans?

I'm really excited because I'm in my favorite stage of writing the second book: forming the characters and plot. The book is technically a sequel to "The Dragon Within", but although there will be connections, both books will stand alone. I think readers will enjoy the connections between the two, though. I have several a couple others planned for the series, and then 40+ book ideas to choose from for a new project. I only hope I can write them all, haha.

7. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?

Playing guitar is one of my favorites, as well as singing, reading, and drawing. I'm a very creative type of gal.

8. What are some of your favorite books?

Ooh, another tricky question! I love so many books, though a couple of my I-could-read-this-100-times books would be the DragonKeeper Chronicles, the Frencolia Chronicles by Carolyn Ann Aish, the Hunger Games trilogy, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson, and pretty much anything by Ted Dekker. I have so many more, but these are the ones I can [and have!] read again and again because they're so good. 

9. What are three random facts about you that most people probably wouldn’t know?

I really love to talk--though since I'm not huge on idle chatter, most people think I'm just very quiet. I have a very one track mind, so much so that my mom has sometimes had a long one-sided conversation with me that I didn't hear any part of because I was doing something else and she didn't get my attention. And I have a smashed penny collection; my family is very thrifty so it's my cheap, cool, and long-lasting souvenir from different places I visit.

10. And finally, what advice would you give other authors seeking to publish?

Write from your heart. It may sound cliché or something, but it's true. Write for yourself, and others will love it too. (And if they don't, that doesn't make you a bad author!)
Also, know the rules, but don't be afraid to break them if necessary. And don't ever give up! It took me three long and often frustrating years to publish "The Dragon Within", but I'm so glad I pushed through and finished it. It's a truly amazing feeling to become a published author, and worth every pain to get there. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by Melody! It’s always fun to get a look into the lives of other authors. :)

More about Melody

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Melody Jackson lives in the unbearably hot state of Arizona, (well, at least it's a dry heat) and enjoys writing, singing, playing guitar, and, well, more writing. She lives with her crazy family, as well as a menagerie of animals, including her four siblings, cats, and one grumpy chinchilla.

You can connect with Melody on her blog and website.

More about The Dragon Within

final book cover

Are dragons good...or evil?

Kaena Armae doesn’t really care either way. No one’s seen a dragon in over twenty years, so why should she even care?

But when she comes face to face with the shocking truth in the forest near her home, she is forced to choose sides in a feud that started centuries ago.

And the real war is just beginning.

Now, Kaena must convince opposing sides to join together to combat an ancient evil, or face the destruction of their whole world, forever.

But what if they’re fighting the wrong enemy?

Both the paperback and Kindle versions are available for purchase from Amazon.


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Monday, July 7, 2014

Been waiting to buy Resistance? Here's your chance.

Checking in quick to let everyone know that for the next week, you can get the Resistance Kindle book for only $1.99 (50% off)! This deal is part of the Homeschool Authors Read-to-Win challenge in which you could win a Kindle loaded with a bunch of great books. Make sure to check out the rules of the challenge here. You can also check out my interview on the Homeschool Authors blog, which includes a short snippet from The King's Scrolls! And not only could you potentially win a Kindle for reviewing Resistance on Amazon, but don't forget, it also qualifies you to receive an exclusive sneak peek chapter from The King's Scrolls! So if you do review Resistance as part of the challenge, make sure to come and send me and email with your review link (or reviewer name) and I'll send you the chapter.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Review - Four Weddings and a Kiss


"Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy
Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.

"Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher
Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He's resolved to change Molly's mind about him--as an editor and as a man.

"A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton
Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie's mind?

"Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley
Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive--or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case--until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.

My Rating: 4 Stars

I requested this book to review on a whim one afternoon because I needed something to read quick during my busy schedule. A collection of Western romances sounded less daunting than a full-length novel. I’m very glad I did, because I very much enjoyed it. These are my thoughts on each of the four stories.

Spitfire Sweetheart – This was my favorite story of the collection. Individually, I give it 5 stars. I’ve hardly read anything by Mary Connealy, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I loved it right from the first paragraph. I have a hard time finding heroines in books that I really like, and Maizy was one of those rare gems who really drew me into her character. I really liked Rylan too. I thought the chemistry between them as the story went on was really good, and I quite enjoyed how in concluded.

A Love Letter to the Editor – This story took me a little bit to get into. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it after the first chapter, but once I got to know the characters better, I enjoyed it more. It wasn’t quite as exciting as the first story, but offered a sweet romance with a very cute ending.

A Cowboy for Katie – I really didn’t know what to expect from this story based on the first couple pages. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Katie because she just seemed a little too over the top, but once her story became more clear, and I got to know her, I really started feeling for her. This story was so different feeling from a lot of the Western romances I’ve read. I mean, how many are about someone whose life has been destroyed by a tornado? I would have to say this was my second favorite of the four stories.

Courting Trouble – This was an interesting story, considering the premise. I really liked Brock’s character, though I didn’t connect as much with Grace. It was almost like the story had two parts—Grace’s trial, and then the process of bringing her and Brock together. I thought the last half felt a little off or rushed, but all in all, a good story.

I very much recommend this collection of Western romances if your looking for some sweet, quick reads. It gives you a good sampling of the different authors’ styles.

I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review–Bellflower

20695412I’ve, unfortunately, been having issues with my stomach again, which sometimes keeps me up at night. The only good thing is it allows for a bit of extra time to read. A couple of nights ago, I opened up Bellflower by Amber Stokes on my iPod Kindle app and read through both short stories over the following nights. I wanted to share a quick review that will be short and sweet, just like the stories. :)

Bellflower, the prequel story to Forget Me Not, offered an interesting look into the lives of Annabelle and Jacob and how they got to where they are in Forget Me Not. I always love backstory, and this was a perfect way to get to explore theirs more deeply.

Fairy Slippers (the bonus short story that is a companion to Bleeding Heart) was my favorite of the two. It was so sweet, and I loved reading more about about Zachary. He was one of my favorite characters in Bleeding Heart. It was definitely a story that made me go, “Awww,” and give a happy girl sigh. :)

If you’ve read Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart, I highly recommend checking out Bellflower for these wonderful little stories that add even more depth to the Heart’s Spring series.