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

SarahMorin0025

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?

A Trip to a Book Sale

Last Saturday, I realized I might just have a problem. I’m a wee bit too addicted to collecting books.

Every year, my small town holds a festival to celebrate simply being in existence (because small towns still hold celebrations like that). There are fireworks, a parade, half the businesses run sales, the other half do some type of special dinner or hot dog fry or something. It’s pretty crazy. As part of the celebration, my local library holds a book sale.

On Saturday, I was just sitting down to edit when I remembered that the book sale started at 9. It was now 9:37. The parade (which closes down the street in front of the library) started at 10:00. I live 12 minutes away.

It was going to be close. I grabbed my purse, dashed out the door with a quick explanation to my mom where I was going, and hurried into my car.

I didn’t make it. I arrived at the final turn as the local police closed the road. I was stuck half a mile away from the library.

So I did what any level-headed, book-addicted girl would do when a parade stands between them and books. I parked and walked the half mile to the library. Did I mention that it was 85 degrees and humid out?

I fast-walked to the library (after all, the longer I took, the more picked over the books would be) and managed to outpace all the candy-crazed kids eager for the parade to start.

Finally, hot, sweaty, and red-faced, I stumbled into the air-conditioned library. And realized that for the first year ever, they’d decided to run the library sale Friday and Saturday. The boxes of books were already half empty and picked over!

I found a couple of YA books, but none my favorites, and a few research books. All told, I found 8 gems buried in the boxes of books.

After paying, I stepped back outside. The beginning of the parade was just reaching the road in front of the library. I could either wait the 45 minutes and watch the rest of the parade or hike back to my car and leave right then.

I decided to leave. I was supposed to be editing, and I’d have to make the walk either way. Might as well do it before the rest of the crowd and miss all the crazy traffic.

By the time I reached my car, the bags of books had cut trenches into my fingers and ached into my shoulders. Blisters had formed both between my toes where my flip flops had rubbed and on the bottom of one of my feet where the plastic chafed.

I was thankful the sale had been so picked over. My usual forty pounds of books would’ve been way too much to carry half a mile back to my car. Eight books were heavy enough.

Probably the most amazing thing about the whole day, was that I managed to fit the books on my bookshelves when I got home. 😉

Have you ever been to a library book sale?

Fun Fiction Friday – Of the Coldblooded

Anyone who follows my Facebook page probably noticed my excited pictures when Angie Brashear’s newest release Of the Coldblooded arrived on my doorstep. Thanks to blog tours and overall busyness, I hadn’t had a chance to post this as part of a Fun Fiction Friday until now.

OtC - eBook Cover

About the Book

Laila Pennedy is a warrior, no longer insecure and weak.

She’s confident the Faithful will overpower the Rendow Clan. Besides, Lars Landre, the Chosen of the Woodlands Region and her betrothed, cannot be defeated. She believes this with all her heart…until tragedy collides with conviction.

In the wake of disaster, the Kinhood threatens to capture Laila, yet offers mercy until autumn’s third full moon if she abides by their commands. But she’s set on revenge. And this time, she won’t be deterred.

This time…she’s the hunter, not the hunted.

Unexpected loss. Compelling wrath. Bygone faith. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?

Isn’t this cover gorgeous? And for those of you who were wondering, it looks really nice on my shelf next to the first book in the series Of the Persecuted. 😉

My Recommendation

This book has a shift in tone from book 1. In Of the Persecuted, Laila is scared and insecure. But she also sees some of the wonder of her world, and there’s a lot of wonder to see.

In Of the Coldblooded, Laila is confident. Too confident. In both herself and in Lars. Her confidence in people is so much that when the first major plot twist happens, her faith is challenged.

While the first book concentrated on finding confidence in faith, this book shows how that confidence and faith needs to be rooted in the Maker, not in people or self. I really like how that theme was woven through not just Laila’s character arc, but several character arcs during the book.

Once again, this fantasy world is vast with creatures both familiar from the first book and a few new dangers. The plot twists and turns. I guessed a few of the plot twists (mostly because my optimistic self wanted it to be that way), but a few still surprised me (both happy ones and shocking ones).

My only small concern with this book is it almost felt like it had too much action (I know, strange coming from me). Sometimes, the action sequences happened so quickly, I had to go back and reread to page to figure out what was going on. This book didn’t have as many moments of quiet reflection between action the way book one did. There is more violence in this book than the first book, and one execution scene that churned my stomach (and that doesn’t happen often). Still, I didn’t think the additional violence or dark tone was gratuitous. They were necessary for the character and plot development. Laila is struggling with a darker side of herself, and that tone comes out through the book. She has become coldblooded, and that doesn’t leave a lot of room for quiet reflection.

I continue to recommend this series and this author to those who are looking for good Christian fantasy. Now I’m eagerly awaiting book 3 and whatever twists and turns it has in store!

The Grip of Cliff Hanger Endings

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I’ve been told the ending of Dare is a cliff hanger. When I was writing it, I actually didn’t intend for it to be a cliff hanger. I saw cliff hangers in the traditional sense where in the last couple paragraphs or line someone runs up and reports “so and so has been kidnapped/captured by pirates/about to be executed” etc. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that cliff hangers are more than that.

So here’s my thoughts on cliff hangers from what I’ve observed. This is not meant to be a how to on cliff hangers or a set of writing rules. Just something to think about.

A cliff hanger is a promise.

It’s as simple as that.

There is a slight difference between the cliff hanger at the end of a chapter and the cliff hanger at the end of the book. With chapter endings, the promise to the reader is vague. The cliff hanger promises that this action or question or emotion will be resolved somewhere in the book, but the author isn’t going to say when. The reader keeps reading to find out.

The cliff hanger at the ending of a book almost always is a promise about the next book.

What do I mean by that? It means the cliff hanger more or less spells out the plot of the next book. While a reader is left really wanting the next book, they still feel satisfied with the current book. They know the cliff hanger will be dealt with once the next book comes out.

This can be very literal (warning, minor spoilers). For example, in Mary Lu Tyndall’s Charles Towne Belle series, the first book ends with the main character finding out that her sister has run away. Guess what? In the second book, the sister is the main character and the whole book is her adventures after she ran away. That book ends with her being reunited with the sister from the first book, only to find out that the third sister has been kidnapped by pirates. Can you guess what the plot of book 3 is going to be?

in another example, the cliff hanger can be more of an determined resolve on the part of the characters rather than a literal action. In the Lord of the Rings movies (sorry, switching to movies), The Fellowship of the Rings ends with Aragorn’s determination to rescue Merry and Pippin and Frodo’s determination to keep going into Mordor. The plot of The Two Towers is thus the battles Aragorn and friends end up joining as part of trying to get Merry and Pippin back and Frodo’s quest to find a way into Mordor. That movie ends with Aragorn realizing the main battle is yet to come and Frodo and Sam finally thinking they have a way into Mordor. The plot of The Return of the King is Aragorn fighting the final, big battles and Frodo finally making it into Mordor.

Sometimes the cliff hanger promise at the end of a book is simply a question or a concern. The plot of the next book is usually that question or concern playing out.

But no matter how a book cliff hanger is done, it is always a promise for the next book. It is not a lack of resolution in the current book. The cliff hanger ending usually happens after the main plot of the book or movie has been resolved. If the plot hasn’t been resolved, then the cliff hanger should be a chapter ending cliff hanger, not a book ending cliff hanger.

This is why the ending of the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug bugs me (Sorry Hobbit fans. Also, spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched the movies). Don’t get me wrong. I like the movies and I’m not one of those people who is going to rant about the changes they made or that kind of stuff because (for the most part) they made them into good movies and stuck to the book fairly closely.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ends with a more traditional cliff hanger. It shows the bird banging on the rock and Smaug’s eye opening. There. The promise of the plot for the next movie. We know that Smaug is awake and defeating him will be the plot for the next movie.

Only, it wasn’t. Not entirely, anyway. The dwarves get to the Lonely Mountain and fight Smaug, then he flies away and makes his “I am Death” speech and Bam! The movie ends.

This bugs me for two reasons: 1. It promises to the viewer that the plot of the next movie will be Smaug carrying through with his promise and 2. The plot of The Desolation of Smaug is not resolved since Smaug is not defeated.

#2 would be all right if #1 were the case. But, Smaug is knocked off before the opening credits of the next movie.

And it cheapens his death. Instead of building up from the tension of the whole movie, Smaug becomes a minor bad guy to knock off quickly in the beginning of the movie so the real fight can begin. We no longer fully care about Smaug’s desolation because we happen to know this movie isn’t about that. It’s about the Battle of the Five Armies that is coming up.

The tension is killed. The cliff hanger is a waste of a cliff hanger.

That “I am Death” scene was a chapter ending, not a book/movie ending. And before you argue that it is one book and couldn’t be broken up easily, I’ll counter that Lord of the Rings is technically one book and that one was broken up just fine. Plus, they managed to get a good plot arc for An Unexpected Journey. They could’ve done the same thing for The Desolation of Smaug.

Really easily, actually. The Desolation of Smaug should’ve included the final battle against Smaug in Lake Town, using the tension that had been building throughout the whole movie so that when that arrow is shot, everyone is curled in their chairs biting their fingernails hoping it will strike true. Then, the movie could’ve ended with the scene of the dwarves watching Smaug fall from the sky when Bilbo turns around and sees that Thorin is starting not to act like himself.

There it is. The promise for the next movie’s plot. Because this time, it actually is the plot of the next movie. The Battle of the Five Armies is about the big battle, but it is also Thorin’s struggle with dragon sickness, his fall, and his redemption in his heroic death.

I know it would’ve thrown off some of the movie lengths and some of that kind of stuff, and I know a lot of people really like where The Desolation of Smaug ends. But from a purely story-writing look, it wasn’t the place it should’ve ended. If a writer ended a book that way, their fans would be all kinds of mad because the story wasn’t truly over. Nothing was resolved.

It is a little better now that all the movies are out and I can watch them pretty much in a row because that way I can pretend the ending of The Desolation of Smaug is simply a chapter ending. In a way, that’s what The Hobbit movies are. They are extended chapters of one story. Still, if you make three movies you are still essentially making three stories and thus each should have their own arc and resolution.

Okay, I’ll stop my mini rant now.

What do you think? Any thoughts on cliff hangers?

Half Blood Blog Tour

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I have been beyond excited the moment I heard Jaye L. Knight was going to be releasing a prequel novella to the Ilyon Chronicles. When she called for participants for a blog tour, I just about tripped over my laptop in my rush to sign up. After all, I was going to go all fan-girl over this book anyways, so I might as well do it as part of the official blog tour, right? 😉

The day has finally arrived, and Half Blood has been out for three whole days already! *squeal*

My Recommendation

Read the book. Seriously. Though, if you’ve already read Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, then you were probably sitting on your porch waiting for UPS to deliver your copy long before this blog post was written (or you got really impatient and went straight to the kindle version!). If you haven’t read any of the Ilyon Chronicles yet, then go do it. Right now. I’ll wait until you get back.

Half Blood has more violence and more intense scenes than Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, though even the tear-jerking scene in this book can’t compare with the heart-destroying scene in The King’s Scrolls. The violence is not gratuitous, and Jaye dwells more on its effects on Jace than on what is physically happening. While reading it, I sometimes got the sense that Jace didn’t want to dwell on or see what was happening or what he was doing, and thus the reader didn’t either. It was a technique that worked really well for showing how Jace clung to his humanity even when everyone else was doing their best to strip him of it.

The hardest part in this book is when Jace fears they may succeed.

Since this is a novella, the book is much, much shorter than Resistance or The King’s Scrolls. While I probably would’ve kept reading had this novella been a tome, I think the shorter length worked for this book. Too much more details of the violence would’ve been overwhelming, and too much of the hope and happiness at the end would’ve dragged and taken away from the beginning of Resistance.

I’d recommend reading this book after reading Resistance. Half Blood is a book written to satisfy the curiosity of fans and deepen their knowledge of one of the characters, and doesn’t serve as the sweeping introduction to the world of Ilyon the way that Resistance does.

*I was given an ARC copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review*

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About the Book

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . .

Available on Amazon!

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goodreads

 Discover Ilyon in Resistance and The King’s Scrolls (if you haven’t already joined the awesomeness!)

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About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum where you can interact with other readers of the series.

Author Interview

In reading through the blog tour so far, I’ve realized everyone asked you this question, but here it is again: Half Blood is a tough book to read (though I enjoyed it. I might have a strange fascination with reading about main characters suffering). Was it tough to write? What was the hardest part?

I wouldn’t say it was overly tough to write. Perhaps that’s because I’ve known all along what kind life Jace lived, so it wasn’t new to me. The hardest part was probably making sure it all fit together and that the timeline of the story was accurate. I started this story at so many different points, and just kept going back further and further into Jace’s life, so in the end, I had to sort of connect the dots. I got a bit confusing at times, but I sorted it out. Suffering really shapes and defines characters, so while it’s a tough story, I’m glad to be able to share what shaped Jace to be who he is in the series.

I can imagine how difficult it must have been to fit it in with all the pieces of Jace’s backstory you’d already mentioned, and the ones you have planned for Samara’s Peril.

What’s your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Drafting? Editing? Designing the cover (which turned out gorgeous, by the way)?

I have things I like about the entire process, but I’d have to say editing is my favorite part. On days where my imagination is really flowing, I LOVE writing, but most of the time editing and perfecting the story is easier and more enjoyable for me. I like knowing I have the whole story down on the computer. Blank pages and giant word goals are far too intimidating sometimes. I also do love designing covers, though I think with future books after Ilyon Chronicles, I will hand those reins over to someone else.

Writing and editing are tons of fun…when they are working right!

Now for my favorite question: If you could trade places with one of your characters for a day, which character and what day would you pick?

I think I’d probably trade places with Kyrin on one of the fun hunting days with Jace. After all, I’d love to hang out with him and meet the others out at camp. 🙂

That’s the same day and same person I’d pick to trade places with if I could hang out in Ilyon for a day! Though, I’d hate to think what poor Kyrin would think having to be me for a day, stuck in an office at a computer instead of traipsing around the forest with Jace. I’d definitely be getting the better end of that deal! 😉

Thanks so much for the interview, Jace, and best wishes on the release of Half Blood!

Giveaway

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Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)
Please click this link to enter the giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more about Half Blood and more interviews with Jaye, check out the rest of the blog tour for Half Blood:

Schedule

Tuesday, July 14

Wednesday, July 15

Thursday, July 16

Friday, July 17 

Saturday, July 18 

Sunday, July 19 

Monday, July 20 

Tuesday, July 21 

Wednesday, July 22 

7/7/7 Writing Challenge

Power of Words

I was nominated by Lauren Gunter to participate in the 7/7/7 Writing Challenge. It looks like fun, and I think you all will enjoy it!

The rules of the 7/7/7 Challenge are:

  • Go to page 7 of your WIP
  • Scroll down to line 7
  • Share the next 7 sentences in a blog post.
  • After the excerpt, tag 7 other writers to continue the challenge.

I’m actually working on three works-in-progress right now. Um, yeah. Not doing too great on my whole stick to one project until I finish it resolution. In my defense, all the projects are at least in one series. That’s an improvement from where I was at a few years ago.

Currently, I’m editing Deny (Book 2), writing the first draft of Book 4 (title yet to be released), and *drum roll* I started on a prequel short story that I hope to release as an ebook sometime in August (to tide you guys over until Deny releases).

I’ve decided to give you guys TWO sneak peeks: a seven-line snippet of Deny and a peek at Deal, the prequel short story.

First up, seven lines from Deny: 

Jamie stretched out, keeping his feet planted as far from Leith as possible, while he helped Leith remove the bandage. Jamie bit his lip only once, as if puzzled. Had he realized the bandage was neater than Leith would have been able to manage by himself with only one arm? Was he questioning how Leith had gotten the bandage on if he couldn’t get it off without help? Thankfully, the boy was only a trainee. He wouldn’t dare say those questions aloud, especially not to the First Blade.

As they reached the final layer, Leith gritted his teeth.

Anyone excited yet?

Next up, a sneak peak at Deal: 

Orn turned to the dealer, but the man just shook his head. “Sorry, Torren. You’ve already used the limit on your tab tonight.”

The stranger’s fingers drummed a rhythm on the table and the inside of Orn’s skull. “Do you call or do you fold?”

“No, I…” He scanned the crowd for someone—anyone—who would loan him some money.

The fingers stopped tapping. “You have a son, don’t you?”

“Yes.” Worthless brat that he was. 

Can you guess what is happening in this sneak peak? 😉

My nominations for the challenge:

Shantelle Hannu

Claire Banschbach

Angie Brashear

Jaye L. Knight

Kim Moss

Jason Hein

E. Rawls

Fun Fiction Friday – Follower of the Word series

I actually finished Morgan Busse’s Follower of the Word series a while ago but haven’t had the chance to spotlight it here on my blog yet.

Many of you in the Christian fantasy community have probably already read this series, since it released over a period of a number of years. I was actually kind of glad I didn’t stumble onto this series until late last year because I only had a few agonizing months to wait for the third book. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, you’re privileged that you can read the entire series without a wait! (Because trust me, you won’t want to wait!)

My Recommendation

If you’d been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Christian fantasy, and this series is Christian fantasy at its finest. The characters are all well-developed and the multiple POVs do not get confusing. I loved all the characters so much that I had a hard time picking a favorite. Once of the main characters is a reforming assassin, and all of you know how I like stories with assassins in them! 😉

There are two things that especially impressed me about this series:

1. Even the established Followers of the Word have struggles. Too many Christian books make it seem like things instantly get easy once a person follows Christ. That isn’t the case in real life, and it certainly isn’t the case in the Follower of the Word series. In fact from an earthly standpoint, things get a lot worse for the characters. Each character pretty much is called on to give up everything they hold dear to follow the Word. Things appear really dark. Faith is tested to the breaking point. Characters are forced to make choices they never thought they’d have the strength to make. Yet, the Word is still there for them, giving them the strength they need.

2. It has one of the best representations of Christ I’ve read. Representing Christ in fiction is extremely difficult. How does an author capture a glimpse of God on the page? C.S. Lewis’s representation of Christ in Aslan is probably the best I’ve ever read because somehow Aslan captures friendship and awe-inspiring power. The Word in the Follower of the Word series is a close second. The Word is a friend yet remains powerful and mysterious. The representation of how He bears our guilt really made me think about what Christ did to pay for my sins.

I highly recommend this series!

About the Books:

Book 1: Daughter of Light

As the Shadonae rise in the west and war threatens the north, a young woman discovers she is not human . . .

Rowen Mar finds a strange mark on her hand, and she is banished from her village as a witch. She covers the mark with a leather glove and seeks sanctuary in the White City. She lives in fear that if she touches another person, the power inside her will trigger again, a terrifying power that allows her to see the darkness inside the human heart . . .

But the mark is a summons, and those called cannot hide forever. For the salvation of her people lies within her hand.

Book 2: Son of Truth

The war in the north is over, but the war for all the Lands has just begun. As the Shadonae solidify their hold on the city of Thyra, Rowen Mar, the last Eldaran and savior of the White City, awakens to find herself hunted by those she has saved.

Meanwhile, the assassin Caleb Tala finds himself in the presence of the Word. The time of reckoning has come, and he must pay the price for all the lives he has taken. But in his moment of judgment, Caleb is given a second chance to change his life.

These two hold the power to save the Lands from the Shadonae. One must escape slavery, and one must choose to forsake everything before the world is consumed in darkness.

Book 3: Heir of Hope

The great city of Thyra has fallen and shadows spread across the land. Rowen Mar, the last Truthsayer, is taken before the Shadonae. But the Shadonae are not who she thought they were, and now they want to claim her as their own.

Caleb Tala, former assassin and prince, is now a Guardian of mankind. Exiled from his country, Caleb wanders the desert in search of his mother’s past and clues to who he is.

These are the last days of the Eldaran race. Rowen and Caleb must find their way along the dark path set before them by their ancestors: to heal what was wounded and love where hatred grows. But the road is narrow and the darkness beckons. If either of them fails, all will be lost…

And the human race will be no more.

About the author:

Morgan L. BusseI am a wife, mother, and author. I write Christian fantasy for adult market. My work is published with Enclave Publishing, the premier publishing company for Christian fantasy and science fiction.

Have you read the Follower of the Word series yet?

I Met My Character The Other Day

I met Brandi.

Not literally. You might think I’m going crazy if I claimed to have literally met one of my fictional characters. But I came close the other day.

I was at a fairgrounds the other night and had just claimed a spot on a ride called the Sea Ray, a big metal swinging boat. Of course I picked the seat far on the end. While I don’t like the dropping feeling, I’d watched this ride for a while and it didn’t seem to go too high or anything. I thought it would be fun.

Shortly after I sat down, this young girl and her father approached the ride. They glanced at the two open seats next to me, and the little girl hesitated.

I smiled at her. “I don’t bite.”

She grinned, clambered onto the ride, and plopped into the seat next to me. “What’s your name?”

“Tricia.”

She repeated my name and smiled.

Since her dad didn’t look too worried about her chatting with a complete stranger, I asked, “What’s your name?”

“Charlotte.”

“That’s a pretty name.” I told her, earning myself a huge grin.

When no one else approached the ride, the operator walked over. There was only the three of us on our bench and one other person all the way on the other side. The operator looked at Charlotte. “Do you want to go easy or go all the way up?”

“All the way up!” She shrieked and bounced in her seat as the operator nodded and pushed the buttons to lower the bar across our laps.

That’s when I started to get worried. The bar didn’t lower very far. I had to sit on the edge of my seat to brace myself against the footrest because I’m so short. How far was all the way up? We didn’t even have decent seat belts in this thing.

The ride began swinging back and forth. Higher and higher. Faster and faster. Until we left our seats at the apex of each swing, hung in the air a moment, and fell down.

I clung to the bar and squeezed my eyes shut. This was too much. Too much dropping. Too much falling.

“Higher!” Charlotte yelled next to me.

“No!” The word squealed from my throat. I could only imagine how terrified I must have looked, braced in my seat, my fingers white knuckled on the single bar holding me in place, my feet braced under the lip of the foot rest so tightly I gave myself a pair of bruises.

Still we whooshed up and up until our noses were level with the center pole from which the ride hung. Down we fell, a free fall lasting long enough to toss my stomach into my chest. I screamed.

Finally the ride began to slow. As we eased to a stop, I pried my fingers from the bar, swiped my hair from my face, and tried to pretend I had not just panicked on a kiddie ride at the fairground.

I turned to Charlotte and stuck out my hand. “It was nice to meet you.”

She took my hand, gave it a firm shake, and grinned. “Nice to meet you too.”

Then we all turned, left the ride, and never saw each other again.

(Picture from http://carnival-rides.com. If I’d seen this ride go this high while I was watching, I probably wouldn’t have picked it!)

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Tag

I’ve been tagged again! This time, Shantelle tagged me in the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award tag.

Here’s how this works:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten blogs.

On to the questions! Shantelle came up with some really fun questions!

What genre have you read most of this year?

I’ve read mostly Christian YA fiction this year, especially speculative and indie titles. I just discovered a whole community of Christian YA authors, and I’m slowly working my way through all their books.

A few books you hope to read soon?

I’m currently reading Of the Coldblooded by Angie Brashear. How can you not want to read this book after looking at the cover?  Once I’m done with this book, I have a stack of books to read, and I haven’t decided which one to pick up next!

OtC - eBook Cover

Favorite book of the year?

Seriously? I have to pick one? And I have to remember all the books I’ve read this year? So far, I’ve read nearly one book a week, so it starts to add up after a while!

Since I have to pick, it would probably be Resistance by Jaye L. Knight. I read it in one day in January when I was home sick from work with a bad cold. I absolutely loved it and immediately began shoving the book at all my friends and family and ordering them to read it because it was amazing. Luckily for me, The King Scrolls (book 2) came out a month later, but now I’m stuck waiting with all the rest of you Ilyon fans!

What was your favorite blog post this year?

Probably the character chats I did for Dare‘s blog tour, especially the second one I did. I had a few of the early readers ask some great questions that really got the characters squirming!

Favorite Dessert?

Um, I have a confession. I have a sweet tooth. I love a lot of things, especially donuts, ice cream, and my dad’s homemade chocolate shakes.

Summer or Winter?

Winter. While I like warmth, I don’t like it when it gets too hot or humid, and I’m not a beach person. Give me three feet of snow and a pair of cross country skis any day!

One Goal You have?

Publish book 2 in my series The Blades of Acktar before the end of the year, hopefully sooner rather than later!

Do you enjoy fairy tales? Which ones do you like the most?

I love fairy tales! Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite. When I was little, my grandparents gave me a large, beautifully illustrated book of fairy tales (I still have it on a specially place on my shelf). I especially loved the book because the illustrations for Beauty and the Beast were on the cover, and Beauty and the Beast was the first story in the book.

Which Disney princess are you most like, and why?

After all my ramblings about Beauty and the Beast, it’s probably no surprise that it was also my favorite Disney movie growing up (Tangled wasn’t out yet!). I think I loved it so much because Belle is a lot like me. She loves to read, she adores her father, she isn’t impressed by the hunky guy with no brain, and she dreams of doing something important. She also had a horse, and I desperately wanted one at that time.

Though, I look nothing like her. She has brown hair and darker eyes, while I have curly blond hair.

Which Disney prince do you consider the most dashing?

Ha! I should have guessed this question was coming from the line of questioning. I’m going to have to go with two:

Flynn Rider, because, well, he’s Flynn Rider. He’s the perfect mix of adorably sweet and good looks beneath his bad boy exterior:

Li Shang from Mulan, because he is kind of the opposite of Flynn Rider. Shang is the straight-laced, by the books guy who finds out he needs to bend a little bit. And he is absolutely sweet when he stutters.

So what about you? How would you answer these questions?

A Letter to My Future Self

Dear My Future Self,

For one of the first times in my life, I’m not in a hurry to be you. I’m content to be me right now, right here. I still have dreams I’m waiting for, goals I’m working towards, but I’m not in a hurry to grow up into you.

You have to deal with the consequences of the decisions I’m making. Please know that I didn’t make them lightly. Perhaps the one I regret the least now are the ones you regret the most. Or you regret not doing something that it never occurred to me to do.

I pray you are content. I pray your faith has grown and matured.

Hopefully you’ve learned to learn from the mistakes I’m making now. Perhaps by the time I become you, I will be better at facing failures and picking myself up afterwards.

I hope my dreams are everything you thought they’d be. Or perhaps you have moved on to a new dream. I hope you haven’t gotten too cynical to dream.

Most of all, I hope you’ve learned to worry less. Perhaps you have. You know all about me, but I know nothing of you. Still, I worry about you and where you’ll be all the time.

Sincerely,

The Current Me