Turning Points – A Time to Rise Blog Tour

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I’ve been thinking a lot about turning points lately. It has been about two months since I posted on this blog, and most of that is due to stumbling across and purchasing a fixer upper house, moving, and making do without internet. A new house, a new turning point.

As I’ve posted about before, I’ve been into listening to history courses through the Great Courses lately. If you get them through Audible, they are pretty affordable. Recently, I listened to one on Turning Points in Medieval History, done by an English professor, not a history professor. Her perspective took on history as one big story, showing how each turning point isn’t a separate event standing all by itself, but interconnected with all the past turning points and influencing all the future ones. As a Christian, I could appreciate this even more because I believe the reason history is so interconnected and seems to be one story is BECAUSE it is one story. Christ’s story. God’s story.

Our own lives are also filled with turning points. Days and events that stick out to us as the moment something changed and set us on a new course. Often, these turning points are tragedy. But not always.

And sometimes, someone else’s turning point affects your own turning point.

Nadine Brandes has talked about several times how a turning point in her life started her on the path to writing her debut novel A Time to Die. In this novel, the main character Parvin experiences her own turning points when, with only a year left to live, she realizes she’s wasted her life, and she sets out to change that.

This was all a good three years before I even knew Nadine Brandes existed. I was partway through college, getting my degree in writing and dreaming about being a published author.

Fast forward a few years. I graduated college, was a year into a full time job, and was submitting a nonfiction manuscript I’d written and getting nowhere with it. I was frustrated that my dream of graduating college and having the time to write books hadn’t worked out. I felt like I had no time and would never have the time I wanted.

Honestly, I don’t remember what made me sit down and give myself a good shake from my pity party. One day, I realized that the reason I wasn’t a writer and wasn’t finishing books was that I was wasting time whining about my lack of time.

This was March 2014. That same month, I started writing Dare. Three months later, I had a completed book. I set it aside and started Deny.

During this time, I also turned my attention away from researching nonfiction publishing toward fiction publishing. I read blogs, books, articles. Traditional publishing. Self Publishing. All of it.

And this is where the turning point thing starts getting cool. I stumbled across Jill Williamson’s Replication as a free ebook. It was the first time I’d discovered the whole Christian speculative fiction world out there. I then went on to read her other books, and the Blood of Kings trilogy showed me that there was still such a thing as Christian fantasy besides Lewis and Tolkien.

Since I was researching publishing, I tracked down the publisher. It was Marcher Lord, right when it was transitioning to Enclave Publishing. I explored every inch of that website, and of course read the blog. Guess who had posted on the blog promoting the release of her debut book?

Yep, Nadine Brandes. nadine-early-release-2

The book sounded really cool, so I stalked her site. Learned she was an editor. Submitted Dare to her for editing. I was too late to officially join the blog tour for A Time to Die, but I unofficially joined it with a post of my own. It had to have been one of the first two or three posts I did on my blog, since I started my blog in August of that year, and that post is from September.

When I was finally able to read A Time to Die in October, Parvin’s realization of wasting time mirrored my own realization from a few months before. Wasting time. Waiting for something to plop out of the sky instead of actively pursuing God’s will.

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That idea of being active in pursing God’s will and glorifying Him stuck with me. It still resonated when, early in 2015, I sat down and had to decide how I should publish Dare. Traditional or indie? Through all my research, the indie route had tugged at me, but I wasn’t sure I dared do it. What did I really know? What if I messed all this up and Dare flopped and…and…

It was all my fear talking, and finally God made it clear indie was the route to go with these books. That moment I hit the publish button, I gave it all to Him. I’d sown the seed. The increase was His, no matter how large or small or whatever it might be.

But I wasn’t wasting time anymore. I was doing my best to actively pursue His will in a way I hadn’t before.

And He did bless the increase way beyond anything I had dreamed for that book.

Then the fall of 2015 came around. I was drained from the rewrites of Deny. Wondering if it would ever measure up to everyone’s expectations. Scared because everyone HAD expectations now, when they hadn’t with Dare.

Then A Time to Speak, Nadine’s next book, released. It was Parvin’s time to speak, to draw on the confidence of the lessons she’d learned in the first book. atimetospeak5

But it also pushed me to speak. To stop stuttering and stammering and hoping someone would change the topic when they asked about my books. To figure out how to keep giving it all to God now that this crazy ride was set in motion.

It’s strange to look back now and see how much a year and a half can change a person. In the year since publishing Dare and reading A Time to Die, I’ve become much more confident in how I interact with people. I’ve signed books at a craft sale. I spoke at a small Christian school. I’ve gone to two writer’s conferences and was able to relax instead of remain a bundle of introverted nerves in the corner. All of that confidence, those turning points, led to the turning point I started this whole post with: buying a house, moving. It wasn’t something I would’ve been ready to handle a year ago.

Looking back, I’m amazed at the way God used the turning points in my life to bring me to this point.

If I hadn’t gotten Replication as an ebook…

If A Time to Die hadn’t been releasing…

If I hadn’t stumbled across Nadine and found an editor and friend…

If A Time to Die and A Time to Speak hadn’t given me pushes when I needed them…

Would I have published Dare? Would I have gone to the writer’s conferences and made a whole bunch of writer friends?

And now, another turning point. A Time to Rise, the third and final book in the Out of Time series releases officially in 10 days, though Amazon is shipping it early if you want to order it now. You can read my review (also known as flailing fangirling) of the book here.

Yes, you all totally have the Out of Time series to thank, in part, for the fact that I ever published The Blades of Acktar.

Have you experienced turning points in your life? How have they affected you?

 

Want to connect with Nadine yourself? Because, after all, she’s an awesome human being.

Nadine is also the queen of Facebook parties, so you won’t want to miss the one she is hosting on October 18

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Want to check out the Out of Time series for yourself?

A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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A Time to Rise

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Posted in Book Recommendations, Christianity, The Blades of Acktar, Writing Blogs, Writing Life, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , by with 6 comments.

Fun Fiction Friday – Waking Beauty

Today’s book Waking Beauty is one that I was excited to read from the moment I saw it in Enclave’s release line up. I was even more excited after I attended the Facebook release party that Sarah Morin and Morgan Busse co-hosted to celebrate their releases Waking Beauty and Heir of Hope.

About the Book

What would happen if the Sleeping Beauty refused to wake up?

This rescue isn’t going at all how he planned. Secondhand hero Prince Arpien intends to gain a throne and the Sleeping Beauty’s heart with a single kiss when he wakes her from the evil fairy’s curse. But kissing the princess is only the beginning of a series of unforeseen obstacles: man-eating bugs, deadly spindles, talking lapdogs, and fiery pickles. The Sleeping Beauty is the biggest complication of all.

Princess Brierly is Beautiful and fairy-Gifted, but also . . . daft. After one hundred years of sleep imprisonment, Brierly refuses to believe this rescue is anything more than a tantalizing but doomed dream.

Arpien is drawn to the vibrancy beneath Brierly’s indifferent exterior. Can they reclaim her kingdom? Do they dare trust in the Prince of the old tales to help them battle the evil fairy who cursed Brierly? What is the price of waking beauty?

This is not the story of an innocent damsel-in-distress or her cardboard rescuer. It is a full coming-of-age struggle in a world where truth shifts as often as dreams.

About the Author

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Sarah E. Morin has three great passions in life: God, books, and working with young people. She has written articles and poetry for local publications and international periodicals in the museum field. Her dramatic works range from a musical about Susan B. Anthony to fairy tale poetry. She enjoys performing her work, especially pieces that allow her to dress up in her queen costume.

Sarah E. serves as Youth Experience Manager (kid wrangler) at an interactive history park. Her 100 youth volunteers are her best consultants in the fields of humor, teenage angst, and spinning wheels (which, they assure her, are not hazardous to anyone but Sleeping Beauty).

My Recommendation

This book was not what I expected. At all. When it arrived, I opened the box to find a tome rather than a slim novel as I’d been expecting (if I’d checked the page count before hand, I would’ve realized it is 480 pages long).

This is an epic, not a quick, easy-read fairy tale.

The beginning was a little slow for me. The writing style reminded me a lot of Lewis Carroll (think Alice in Wonderland or the poem The Jabberwocky). There are a lot of made-up words and things that the reader has to figure out as they go along as well as a number of long strings of titles such as Peerless Prince, etc. It’s a style that evokes an older, whimsical style of writing. It is fun writing, but a little difficult to get into until you get used to it.

Besides the writing, the story also unfolded slowly. Each piece of the puzzle was revealed after the characters do a lot of character-stuff and character reflection. Overall, I’d rate this as a very, very character-driven novel rather than plot-driven. As a plot-driven reader, I felt like it could’ve been trimmed a little bit, especially in the beginning when (to me) it felt like the characters weren’t accomplishing anything for several chapters.

But once I reached the end? It was worth it. Totally. Once the action started happening, it drew all the pieces together. The three different POV characters all had their own role to play in the ending, and it had a few twists that I wasn’t expected (and a few I was).

While I liked all three characters, Nessa was my favorite. Probably because she is the most straightforward of the three POV characters. While the POV switched between Arpien, Brierly, and Nessa, I was never confused by whose head I was in. They all have very distinct voices.

My favorite part of the book was the theme of dreams vs. reality. While Brierly is the one that refuses to believe she is actually awake and not still stuck in dreams, she isn’t the only one who is stuck in delusions. In a way, all the characters have their own delusions, their own Dreams, that they need to wake from in order to find Reality. It made me think about what I might be deceiving myself with and what thorns I might be clinging to because I believe I’m strong enough to handle them on my own.

Have you read Waking Beauty yet? Or is it on your TBR list?


Posted in Book Recommendations, Fiction Friday, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , by with 2 comments.

Exciting New Page – Fiction Finder

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Hello, Readers!

If you’re like me, you are always searching for new books to read. When I was a teen, I couldn’t find much for Christian YA fiction. Now that I’ve been trolling blogs and following threads online, I’ve found a number of authors and books that I wish I’d known about years ago.

To help all of you along, I’ve added a YA Fiction Finder set of pages. All the books on these pages are ones that I’ve personally read since I don’t want to recommend a book to all my readers that I haven’t read myself. I’ve also added a few links to a few other places to find more Christian YA books. I’ve organized my pages by both genre and author so that you can look it up either way.

I plan to add to these pages as I discover and read more books so check back frequently!

So without more introduction, my YA Christian Fiction Finder!

Any books that you’d recommend that you don’t see on my pages?


Posted in Announcements, Book Recommendations, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by with 8 comments.

Big News! Time to Celebrate!

For the past month, I’ve had some big news that I’ve been waiting to share. A month ago, I learned that the talented Nadine Brandes has agreed to professionally edit Dare! 

Nadine Brandes’ first book A Time to Die released earlier this month in ebook and paperback. You might remember seeing my blog post If I Had One Year to Live as part of her blog tour.

I stumbled onto Nadine Brandes almost by accident. I had recently read Jill Williamson’s By Darkness Hid. It was both fantasy and Christian, a combination I hadn’t seen often. I looked up the publisher: Marcher Lord Press.

I quickly learned that Marcher Lord Press had recently changed its name to Enclave Publishing, a publisher focusing exclusively on Christian speculative fiction. I browsed their list of books, reading the blurbs about each of the books and visiting each of the author websites. I also read through Enclave Publishing’s blog and came across a guest post by Nadine Brandes. I followed the link to her blog, and I guess the rest is history.

After visiting her blog obsessively and waiting eagerly for her book to release, I finally gathered my courage to see if she would edit my book as part of her editing services. And she chose my book to fit into her busy schedule! Mine!

To celebrate both this opportunity and the release of Nadine’s book, I’m giving away either a paperback or ebook copy of her new book A Time to Die. Just follow the directions below! The winner will be announced on October 17!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway


Posted in Announcements, Writing Blogs, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , by with 17 comments.

If I Had One Year to Live

I volunteered to join Nadine Brandes‘ blog hop for her new book A Time to Diewhich releases on September 23. In this dystopian novel, the main character is faced with the question of what she will do with her last year to live.

In this blog hog, I’ve been challenged to answer the question for myself. What would I do if I knew I had one year left to live?

A week ago, I would have given a very different answer. I had been planning to write something about my bucket list and the things I would like to accomplish. I’ll admit, it was shallow. An exercise in the hypothetical.

That all changed this past Thursday when a young man from my church was killed in a motorcycle accident. I didn’t know him personally. In fact, I don’t think I had ever talked to him even though he had attended my church for a few years. But I have friends who knew him well. It shocked my entire church to realize that a young man had been taken so quickly.

On Sunday, my minister preached from Psalm 90 about numbering our days. This doesn’t mean we count our days in the way we say we are so many years old. It means we realize how short our lives are. We count up our fleeting time and realize that we need to use that time to God’s glory. All of our time, whether we have a year or seventy years left to live, should be focused on serving God and His people.

While listening to this sermon, my answer to this blog question changed. If I had one year to live I would…

Change nothing.

At least, that is what I should be able to say. I should already be living with the awareness that life is short. Each day should be lived with no regrets so that it wouldn’t matter if God took me tomorrow or in seventy years. My heart and soul should be poured into every second.

Right now, I can’t say this is true for me all the time. I waste time on frivolous activities. I walk away when I should be helping others. I draw back and hide when I should be touching others’ hearts. But I am learning. Perhaps by the time it is my time to die, I will have begun to live this way.

Now it is your turn. What would you do if you had one year to live?

 

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?
Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.
But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.
This is the first book in the Out of Time Series. Releases September 23rd from Enclave Publishing.

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Learn more about Nadine Brandes at her website, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Goodreads.


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