Black Friday Book Sale!!!

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Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my “things I’m thankful for” list every year. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2015 and am thankful for.

  1. A Time to Speak, by Nadine Brandes: Nadine happens to be my editor for The Blades of Acktar, and along the way she’s also become a friend and mentor. Dare and Deny wouldn’t be what they are without her. Not only that, but she’s an amazing writer whose books also encourage me to live each day pursuing God’s purpose in my life.
  2. The King’s Scrolls, by Jaye L. Knight: I actually stumbled upon The Ilyon Chronicles in the build up for the release of The King’s Scrolls. I’d heard a lot of good things about them, so I signed up for the blog tour, bought Resistance, and read it and The King’s Scrolls in a matter of days. Jaye has been an awesome friend online.
  3. Of the Coldblooded, by Angie Brashear: Another awesome author friend and prayer warrior. I leaned on her prayers a lot while editing Deny. Her books also make my list of top Christian fantasy
  4. Leaving Nelson, by Kim Moss: I had written off Christian contemporary YA as a genre I’d never read and enjoy until Kim and I ended up on a launch team together, and she asked if I’d be willing to review her books. I said yes, and I never regretted it. 🙂
  5. Mardan’s Mark, by Kathleen McKee: I love the unique characters in this book and that the setting in this book is also based on American geography instead of the standard medieval Europe.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here’s one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 27-30. There’s literally something for everyone.

Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.

Don’t know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

Book Quiz

What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Character Interviews #2

The Blades of Acktar Blog Tour Header

After Leith, Renna, and Brandi file into Lord Alistair’s study, I stroll over to the window, bolt it shut, and jam a bobby pin into the lock. Crossing the room, I turn the key in the door’s lock and drop the key into my pocket.

When I turn, Leith is staring at me, a hand on the hilt of one of his knives. He had reason to worry. I’d locked the door and window to keep him from bolting once I started asking this next round of questions.

I settle into the huge leather chair behind the desk. My feet dangle several inches above the ground. Seriously, if I’m going to keep doing these character interviews, I was going to have to write a footstool into the room.

“All right, you three. This round of questions is to satisfy the curiosity of the Goodreads fangirls.”

“Fangirls?” Brandi’s forehead scrunches. “What are fangirls?”

“A fan girl is a girl who obsesses over something or, more often, someone with a whole lot of overexcited squealing. They sound a lot like Brandi would if she were given a whole stable of horses for her very own.”

Leith’s knees bounce like he is debating jumping from his chair and making a run for it. Renna scoots down lower as if to make herself invisible.

Brandi cocks her head. “They sound like girls I’d like to meet. Whose fangirls are they?”

“Leith’s, mostly.”

Leith’s grip tightens on his knife. “I’m not going to like these questions, am I?”

“Nope. Sorry, that’s the price you pay for having fangirls, especially ones who are excessively shipping you and Renna.”

“Shipping?” Leith’s forehead wrinkles.

“Believe me, you don’t want to know.” I pick up the first notecard. Considering the line of questioning on these, he’d figure out soon enough. “Just a reminder, you all have to be completely honest. Don’t worry, you’ll forget this conversation as soon as the story launches.”

By this point, Renna’s face has taken on a decidedly green color while Leith keeps glancing at the door. Brandi still bounces in her seat.

“Let’s start with an easy one. Leith, when you’re free, what will be the first thing you’ll want to do?”

“When? Don’t you mean if?” Leith shakes his head. “It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever be free.”

“We were over this last time. Assuming you don’t die and don’t stay bound to Respen forever, what would you want to do?” I grit my teeth. If he was stalling already, then the rest of the questions were going to be like pulling teeth. With a monkey wrench. In the mountains with no painkiller.

“I’m not sure.” He meets my gaze. “Honest. I’ve been a Blade for half my life. I don’t really know a whole lot about being someone else.”

“Okay, that is a valid answer, I guess. Though, I doubt your fangirls are going to like how vague it is.” I let a little bit of my grin to show on my face. “Leith, when you’re free, do you intend to marry?”

“What?” He shoots to his feet, the tips of his ears going red. His eyes flick towards Renna before going back to me.

Renna squeaks and slides lower in her chair. Brandi presses her hand over her mouth, but even that does nothing to hide her grin and giggles.

“Like I said, you have fangirls.” I point my stack of notecards at him. “Now answer the question.”

“I don’t know? Maybe. No. I don’t think so. I mean, I’m a Blade. Who’d want to marry me?” His shoulders sag. “I watched my father destroy my mother’s heart bit by bit. I don’t want to do that to anyone.”

“You’re not your father.” I heave a sigh. It always comes back to that with him. “But let’s assume you did decide to marry. If you did have a wedding, who would be your best man?”

Leith looks relieved that I’d asked him that question instead of who he would marry if he could. Then he frowns. “Shad, I guess. I’d ask Martyn to stand with me too, but if I were free, then Martyn…”

“Martyn might not be your friend anymore.” I finish for him. “Wish I could tell you what happens with that, but that’d be a spoiler. Last question before we move on to the others: have you had a crush on any girl besides Renna?”

His ears go red again, but he answers quickly. “No.”

“All right. Renna.” When I turn to her, she hunches her shoulders as if to make herself smaller. “Your turn for questions. What’s your opinion of Leith?”

She swallows, glances at Leith, then stares down at her lap. “I don’t know. He’s safe, I guess.”

I decide it isn’t worth it to push her farther on that subject. Getting information from her is worse than from Leith, and that is saying something. “If you were to have a wedding, who would be your maid of honor?”

“Brandi.” She glances at her sister and smiles.

Brandi grins back.

“Okay, now for the most important, burning fangirl question of them all.” I pause, and both Leith and Renna tense. Brandi leans forward. My grin widens. “Brandi, would you like to see Leith and Renna get together as a couple?”

Renna makes a choking sound in the back of her throat and stares at Brandi. Leith crosses his arms, but his foot makes scuffing motions against the rug.

Brandi grins and rolls her eyes. “Duh. Of course. Leith is already like my brother, but it’d be nice if it were official.”

Leith and Renna gape at her. It is probably a good thing they are all going to forget this conversation otherwise Brandi might be in for a stern talking to from Renna.

 

 

Character Interviews #1

The Blades of Acktar Blog Tour Header

I settle into the large, leather chair behind Lord Alistair’s desk in Walden Manor. I tap my pile of questions into a neat stack. On the other side of the desk, Renna, Brandi, Uncle Abel and Aunt Mara sit in the chairs Lord Alistair helpfully provided for this interview. Shad leans against the book cases to my right while Leith paces behind the chairs.

“All right, everyone. Let’s get this interview started. I know a few of you want to get it over with.” I hold up my stack of notecards. “We’re going to do this in several sessions over the next little bit. I have a lot of questions from some of the people who’ve read your story so far. You have to answer honestly, but without spoilers. We’re going to start with questions that relate to the first part of your story, called Dare.” I make a note to warn everyone who would read this interview that the below questions and answers might contain a few spoilers for Dare.

Renna laces her fingers together. Brandi bounces on her seat. Leith shoots a worried glance in my direction. Then again, he has good reason to be worried.

“Brandi, let’s start with you.” I pick up my first notecard. “Hannah wants to know what made you choose the story of Daniel to tell to Leith?”

She cocks her head. “I guess I’ve always loved those stories. They all have happy endings. It’s why it’s my favorite book in the Bible, well up until the confusing prophecy stuff at the end.”

“Renna, what’s your favorite book of the Bible?”

Renna doesn’t even raise her head. “Psalms.”

“I’ve got a question for Shad this time.” I meet his gaze. He raises his eyebrows at me. “What was your first thought when you caught Leith reading the Bible the first time?”

Leith’s head jerks up and he glances between me and Shad. The corners of Shad’s mouth quirk like he is trying to hide a grin. “I didn’t see what he was reading at first, so my first thought was that I had an opportunity to sneak up on him. Probably not the wisest thing to do with a Blade, but I wanted to see how he’d react. When I saw what he was reading, I wasn’t too surprised. He’d gone to all the trouble to steal the Bible, and Father had let him borrow it. It wasn’t until later than I realized he was reading for more reasons than just curiosity.”

“While we’re on the topic of how you and Leith became friends, I’ve got a question for Leith from Claire.” I suppress a grin of my own as his eyes widen. “When did you decide you could trust Shad?”

Leith rests a hand on one of the knives strapped across his chest. “I guess I knew I could trust him when he let me keep my weapons. If he trusted me that much, then surely I could trust him too. Turned out to be a wise choice.”

“Yes. The two of you make a great team.” I shuffle the notecards to the next question. “While we’re on the topic of trust, Abel and Mara Lachlan, how did you know you could trust Leith? How did you feel about Leith recovering at Stetterly Manor?”

Abel and Mara share a look before Abel turns to me. “We didn’t. Not entirely. But his general politeness helped ease some of our fears. And there’s a certain…history that also swayed our opinion.”

Renna, Brandi, and Leith all stare at the Lachlans.

Mara pats Abel’s arm. “I’m afraid we can’t say any more than that without spoilers.”

“Nope, you can’t. You’ll all figure out why in Deny.” I tap the notecards on the desk to claim everyone’s attention again. “Brandi, the last three questions are for you. How were you so optimistic about having a Blade recovering at Stetterly? Everyone else was worried.”

Brandi shrugs. “I don’t know. His horse was nice, so I guess I figured he had to be nice too.”

“What’s your favorite thing about Walden Manor?”

Brandi rolls her eyes. “The stables, duh. At Stetterly, we only had Stubborn, our mule. Walden has a whole stable full of horses.”

That’s your typical, horse-crazy thirteen-year old girl. I grin. “Final question: when is your birthday, Brandi?”

“That’s kind of a spoiler, isn’t it?” Brandi wrinkles her nose. “So I guess everyone will just have to read the story and find out, won’t they?”

“Yep.” I make a note on the next notecard. “That’s all for today. Thanks to everyone for coming.”

 

Blog Tour Begins & Sneak Peak

The Blades of Acktar Blog Tour Header

The blog tour for my upcoming release Deny starts today! Yay!

I have lots of fun author interviews, book reviews, and several chats with the characters lined up. It’s going to be a pretty crazy, fun-filled three weeks!

Here are the posts I have lined up:

Blog Tour Schedule

November 16

November 17

November 18

November 19

November 20

November 21

November 23

November 24

November 25

November 27

November 30

  • Release Day!

December 1

December 2

December 3

December 4

Doesn’t it look like fun?

To make things more exciting, here’s a sneak peak at the first two chapters of Deny: Deny (The Blades of Acktar #2) First Two Chapters Sneak Peek

If that link doesn’t work, try this link instead: Deny (The Blades of Acktar #2) First Two Chapters Sneak Peek. It will route you to a page on my website instead of pull up a PDF.

If that isn’t exciting enough, I’m also giving away a set of signed copies of Dare and Deny. You’ll be able to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at any of the blog tour stops.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Enjoy!

Black Friday Promo Survey

Turns out, Black Friday is the Friday before Deny’s release and Deny releases on Cyber Monday. This either could be a really good thing, or a really bad thing. I’m going to be participating with 23 other Christian indie authors to put together a Black Friday promotion. Over 70 books will be a part of this promotion.

We want to know what YOU want to see in a Black Friday promotion. Please fill out the below survey:

Fun Fiction Friday – Chasing Secrets

Today, I’m really excited to share with you Chasing Secrets, the newest release by Kim Moss. I had the privilege of reading an earlier version, and I’m reading the final version right now, and it’s even tighter and more amazing.

But first, some introductions:

About the Author:

Kim Moss is a wife, mother, teacher, and author ….and now a blogger! She lives in Dallas, Texas with  a very amazing husband and two young “super hero” boys who inspire her daily.  She’s been writing ever since she could hold a pencil.  She actually wrote her first YA novel on a yellow legal pad in junior high school, and she hasn’t stopped writing since!  She is a teacher by day, and a novelist by night. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family in the great outdoors.

About the Book

Some say he’s a dead end. To her, he’s an escape. An detour from decisions and doubts.

If she takes his hand, there may be no turning back.
What Bailey thought would be her perfect senior year has turned into the perfect mess. Nothing has gone according to plan. Her relationship with her new stepmom is strained. Her long-distance relationship has her tied to the phone, and the new guy in school is taking over her job as senior editor of the newspaper. To top it all off, the one person she knows she should probably stay away from is the one she can’t stop thinking about.
Just like the wheels on his motorcycle, Liam Garrett’s life is spinning out of control. Ever since his dad went to prison, he’s been lost. A loner by nature, Liam has a hard time making friends at his new school. His job as co-editor of the yearbook places him at odds with the one person he feels connected to. And when a fatal hit-and-run rocks this small town, Liam feels more alone than ever, stuck in the prison of his own secrets.
A chance meetings one morning sets these two on an unexpected path, chasing secrets that could change everything. Without her compass, will Bailey be able to navigate this uncharted territory, or will she get lost in it?

This is actually book 3 in the Bailey Baxter series. You can read more about books 1 and 2 here and read my review here.

The Bailey Baxter series, Leaving Nelson, My Summer Storm, and Chasing Secrets are all available on Amazon.

My Recommendation

Those who know me know that I don’t read or like many contemporary books, especially contemporary teen books. Often, contemporary teen books try so hard to be modern and hip, even Christian teen books, that I couldn’t even connect with them when I was a teenager.

The Bailey Baxter series by Kim Moss is one of the few contemporary Christian YA stories that I really love. It manages to portray the life of a conservative Christian teenager without feeling stodgy, stifling, or sanitized. The characters and their lives feel real because the characters are living the struggle that many Christian teenagers face. It isn’t perfect. The characters aren’t perfect. Their lives aren’t perfect.

Chasing Secrets picks up right where My Summer Storm left off. Bailey and Bryce are in their senior year of high school and they are trying to make a long distance relationship work. Bailey is also adjusting to the changes in her own family now that Sarah is her stepmom instead of her teacher and confidant. Bailey had finally moved on after her mother’s death, and now it seems like Sarah is replacing her. And then there’s the new kid Liam who is taking Bailey’s place in school on the yearbook committee.

Of all the series so far, this one is by far the most intense. Bailey faces some tough situations in the book, and sometimes her decisions make her already tough situation even tougher. But they are realistic decisions, and the decisions I can imagine making as a high school senior in her situation.

There is kind of a love triangle thing going on, but it isn’t the form where a girl is intentionally leading on two guys because she can’t make a choice. The love triangle comes from a hurting girl trying to find someone to comfort her. We’ve all pushed people away when we’re hurting. We’ve all done stupid things when facing grief. And that’s exactly what Bailey does. She isn’t mature enough to handle her grief while maintaining a long distance relationship, and it causes her to look elsewhere for comfort.

Like the other books in the series, the Christian aspect is there, but done with a light touch. It doesn’t get overwhelming and certainly not preachy. It feels very authentic to how faith looks like in the real world, and that’s something that’s difficult to pull off in fiction.

I loved this latest additional to the Bailey Baxter series, and, thanks to the semi-cliffhanger at the end, I’m dying to read book 4!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

What about you? Do you ever read contemporary Christian YA? Why or why not?