Turning Points – A Time to Rise Blog Tour

the-rise-tour-blogger-banner-1

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.

atimetodiecov

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

image

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

A Time to Die

AmazonBN-iconlogo EvxYrjm7_400x400goodreads icon

A Time to Speak

AmazonBN-iconlogogoodreads icon

A Time to Rise

AmazonBN-iconlogo goodreads icon

The Awesomeness that is Realm Makers

I know, it has been over a week since Realm Makers and everyone else and their brother-in-law has already written their Realm Makers post. I’m a little behind. More news on that later.

All I really have to say is IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!! That would pretty much sum it up, but that would be a sorry excuse for a blog post, especially after I haven’t posted anything in four weeks.

Realm Makers is a writer’s conference for Christian writers in the speculative (fantasy, science fiction, horror, steampunk, etc) genres. It is kind of like a four day retreat with 150 of your closest friends (even if you didn’t know they were your friends until you arrived). This year, it was at Villanova University outside of Philadelphia. Me being crazy me, I drove the 11 hour drive all by myself. Who wouldn’t want to drive themselves with views like this?

Displaying IMG_20160727_161252863.jpg
I did the drive in two days, one long day and one morning so that I had time to stop at the Valley Forge National Monument. Valley Forge is where George Washington and his men spent the winter of 1777-1778 and started being better organized as an army. While most of t
heir huts and entrenchments are no longer visible, the farmhouse where George Washington spent the winter is still there. It is about 80% original, down to much of the interior floorboards, railings, and paneling in the rooms.

Displaying IMG_20160728_110055664_HDR.jpg

Finally, I arrived at Villanova. The campus was beautiful, all stone buildings and brick paths. Lots of scope for a fantasy writer’s imagination there!

I roomed with Nadine, Katie, and Ashley. Of the three, I’d only known Nadine before the conference, but that didn’t stop all of us from bonding. Katie is super perky and amazingly dedicated to her blog fans. Ashley and I swapped curly hair horror stories and product tips. Seriously great Realmie Roomies! I could go on and on about how amazing our three AM chats were! Ashley and Nadine both have books available, and I adore both of their series! There was a rather hilarious moment when I wore a Nadine’s Ninjas shirt all day, but Nadine didn’t notice it until nearly midnight. She screamed incredibly loudly and totally freaked out. Katie and I got a good laugh about it, because Katie asked in the morning how long I thought it would take Nadine to notice. Apparently it took her all day.

Realmie Roomies

Nadine's Ninjas
Photo Credit: Nadine Brandes This is Nadine’s “I can’t believe I never noticed this” face!

 

Ashley and I got each others books at the conference. So excited to read the rest of her series now that I have them!

Ashley and I

 

The sessions were amazing, especially Steve Laube’s. He focused on building our own faith since, as writers, we pour out what we take in. If we aren’t taking in God’s Word, we can’t pour it into our writing.

The costume night was also a highlight. I dressed as a Blade, but I struggled to be intimidating.

Dressed as a Blade

Then there was the lack of sleep. The last night I got about 20 minutes of actual sleep before I had to be up to drive a carload of faculty to the airport. I’m really surprised none of them refused to ride with me when they realized I’d had pretty much no sleep, I was driving in the dark in an unfamiliar area, and it was a torrential downpour. Thankfully, they all arrived safely, and I was able to doze in bed for a few more hours before I had to start my drive home.

In case you hadn’t noticed, no one at Realm Makers sleeps. For four days, people should get about 32 hours of sleep. I haven’t seen any Realmie report anything more than 20 hours of sleep. I think I got about 10 hours of deep sleep and a lot of catnaps and dozing. Good thing everyone at the conference is too buzzed on hanging out and caffeine to care how little sleep they got!

The best thing about Realm Makers I think is the whole atmosphere. It is very relaxed, very friendly. Like I said, it feels like a several day retreat with 150 of your friends more than a stuffy conference. I made so many new writer friends it would take pages to list them all here. I miss them all so much already!

13872936_1228536687181239_7655883261979742588_n

Seriously, if you are a Christian speculative fiction writer, you should go to Realm Makers if at all possible! I can see now why people go back to it every year!

A Time to Rise Cover Reveal

I have a super special treat for you guys today. A cover reveal! But not just any cover reveal. This is a cover reveal for A Time to Rise, book three in the Out of Time series by the extraordinary Nadine Brandes. Yes, the same Nadine Brandes who happens to be the freelance editor for The Blades of Acktar.

I was super excited when I got the chance to sign up for the cover reveal and see the cover a day earlier than the reveal. The benefits of being on Nadine’s street team. If that sounds good to you, you can find the sign up here.

Now, the cover reveal…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ta da!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ATimetoRiseCover

Isn’t it gorgeous? Then again, I didn’t expect anything less. All of the covers for the Out of Time series have been amazing, done by Kirk DouPonce, DogEaredDesign! I can’t wait to have this book on my shelf!

About the Book

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

Add to Goodreads

Release Date: October 14, 2016

How am I ever going to survive until October? Ah!!!!

If you want to add a countdown timer to your blog (because you’re an excited fangirl like me), then here’s the link for one: https://countdownsbyerin.com/cd/time/

All Covers - IG - ST

Sadly, the preorder isn’t available at this time. But if you haven’t picked up the first two books, you can find them here:

 A Time to Die

AmazonBN-iconlogo EvxYrjm7_400x400goodreads icon

A Time to Speak

AmazonBN-iconlogogoodreads icon

You can connect with the author Nadine Brandes at her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

To top off all the fun, Nadine is hosting a giveaway for Happy Hello Out of Time character bookmarks. Follow this link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7c244e3122/?

What do you think? Isn’t the cover amazing?

Samara’s Peril Review & Interview

BlogTour-SPBanner

In case you live in a hole like a hobbit and haven’t gotten the word yet that Samara’s Peril (Ilyon Chronicles book 3) released 6 days ago, it’s here. *fangirl screams go off in the background* I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting for this book for over a year!

Anyway, I probably should tell you a little about it, in case you missed seeing it plastered all over the rest of the blog tour (links for all the posts in the tour can be found here).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00028]

About the Book

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

 

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks!

Add to Goodreads

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!

My thoughts

It’s the Ilyon Chronicles! Of course I spent most of this book as a puddle of fangirl mushiness!

The beginning of this book was my favorite. I loved seeing the whole Altair clan together. Minus one important character. *sniff* I still can’t read that part in The King’s Scrolls without bawling. I guessed the big reveal in the beginning of this book before it happened, but that didn’t stop me from squealing and walking around with a dazed grin on my face for hours afterwards.

There are some darker themes in the book, such as abusive marriage, a past rape, and a young man following in the abusive ways of his father. It is all handled very well, and highlights the manner a Christian deals with the consequences of those things rather than focusing too much on the darkness itself.

And just saying, Rothas has to die. Somehow. Once you read the book, you’ll understand.

This is a book that definitely has a switch in plotline and tone partway through. The two halves work together, but I’ll admit, I didn’t love the second half nearly as much as the first. It was still really, really good, and the twist at the end totally caught me off guard.

And one certain romance-y part at the end. *swoony sigh* Yes, I love impulsive kisses in books. Especially when it is two characters that I’ve been waiting forever for them to wake up and realize they liked each other.

This book also brings in the Christian parallels more distinctly than some of the other books. It is written more like Biblical fiction than allegory in some parts. It was handled very well, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the book. Probably because Biblical fiction isn’t my thing. So that is personal preference on my part.

Once again, this book delivers the emotional impact, hug-worthy and awesome characters, and adventure I’ve come to expect when I dive into the Ilyon Chronicles.

When does book 4 release? Please?

JayeAuthorPhoto

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, and Etsy.

Jaye will also be joining me during the Facebook party to celebrate Defy‘s release on June 2.

Interview with the Author

Hi, Jaye! Welcome back to my blog! I think this is the third time I’ve interviewed you here. 🙂

  1. Samara’s Peril is such a pivotal book for the series. A lot of things happen both plot-wise and character-wise (Jayrin!). Was it a hard or easy book to write? Edit?

I wouldn’t say any of my books are easy to write, but Samara’s Peril was one of the easier ones. Editing, on the other hand, not so much. It took a lot of time and effort, probably because it is such a pivotal book, and I wanted to get the emotions just right.

Well, I think you succeeded! All of your books tend to have such emotional impact!

  1. Portraying Christ in fiction is a tricky thing to do, and not everyone agrees on the approach. How did you go about writing Elon in Samara’s Peril?

Definitely tricky. It’s never something I’ve set out wanting to do. More like called to do. It’s hard to feel qualified to attempt such a thing. Basically I went about it with a lot of prayer. The one thing I always focus on when attempting to portray Christ is Jesus’s love. That was an especially big part of this story. I know some readers will wish I had added more scenes with Elon, but everything major in this book is approached from Jace’s point of view. Jace longs for a relationship with Elon, but is afraid. One of the biggest questions I asked myself was how we would feel if we found ourselves in Jesus’s presence and were as keenly aware of our sins and shortcomings as Jace is. Questions like that are what shaped how I wrote Samara’s Peril.

That makes sense! I’m glad you didn’t add more scenes with Elon. I liked the way it was handled.

  1. You now have 12 books out between your two pennames. Twelve! What is the biggest thing you learned through writing and publishing all those books? Any things you’ve learned about writing recently?

I think the biggest thing is just the growth in the actual writing. The books I wrote as Molly Evangeline really needed more work. However, I had to start somewhere, and publishing those books taught me so much about the publishing process that I was able to use when starting over as Jaye L. Knight. I can’t think of anything specific just recently except that I really should give myself more time to get things ready before I publish. 😉 My schedule got kind of crazy this time and there was a little panic involved before this release. More so than usual.

*sigh* Don’t we all struggle with that? The panic before publication? And there’s never enough time. Never.

  1. Are there any specific places that influenced the setting of Ilyon?

I pick little bits of inspiration from a variety of places. Usually it’s a picture here and a picture there that I come across. Nowhere that I’ve been to or wanted to visit personally. Probably the biggest influence for a setting in Ilyon is Ancient Rome. That is really what I based the country of Arcacia on even though it has more of a medieval feel to it.

I love the mix of Ancient Rome and medieval in Ilyon! And the other cultures like the cretes.

  1. Your characters do a lot of travelling. Do you like to travel? What is your favorite trip you’ve ever taken or favorite place you’ve ever visited?

I do love to travel. I have so many places I would love to visit (the Rocky Mountains, the East Coast, England, the Caribbean), but, unfortunately, I can’t afford those kinds of trips on my author income. Someday I hope to though. I think my favorite trip memories are from day trips with my family. We did a lot of fun day trips when I was young, and now my brother and I do a lot of that as well. One of these days, we’re going to plan a more exciting and adventurous road trip.

What? Michigan’s not on that list? 😛

Thanks for stopping by once again! Can’t wait to chat with you again at Defy‘s Facebook party in a couple of weeks!

Giveaway

SPGiveawayBanner

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Samara’s Peril, a John 3:16 necklace by FaithWearDesigns, and a green wire dragon bookmark by Wirelings! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Contest Results & Book Signing Memories

I could be mean and wait until the end of this post to announce the winners of the Name That Character contest. But, I’m not.

You all came up with such great names! It was sooooo hard to choose! 33 different people submitted names! Wow!

General GENERALS NAME shall henceforth be known as General Uriah Stewart. 

Congratulations to Emily Drown for the name Uriah and Addyson Huneke for the name Stewart.

Honorable mentions are Chloe L. for the names Tavish and McLain, and C.B. Cook for the name McGowan.

HE WHO MUST BE NAMED shall henceforth be known as Ian McCrae. 

Congratulations to Amy K. for the name Ian (she also came up with the name Tavish) and to Valerie S. for the name McCrae.

Honorable mentions are Jesseca Wheaton for the name Dunn and Josie Ophoff and Sierra Faith, who both came up with the name Jotham.

Congrats to all the honorable mentions and winners! And thank you everyone who entered! I’m definitely keeping this list of names, so you never know when I might use it again.


 

This past Saturday, I went to Indiana for a book signing, meet & greet, and book talk. About 20 people, both kids and adults, showed up. I had a great time chatting with everyone. I even managed to sound somewhat intelligent while answering questions. I doubt any of the kids getting their books signed realized that I was just as terrified to talk to them as they were to talk to me.

One of the questions I was asked was what books to I recommend. I should’ve been prepared, but I wasn’t completely. So here’s a better list:

My top 7 recommended Christian YA books

  • The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight. So far, 2 books and a novella are out, and book 3 releases in May. I already had the chance to beta-read it, and it’s amazing. 🙂
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: None
    • Spiritual Content: Very well done and doctrinal sound. The Christian aspects are not so much allegory as a mirror of our own world.
    • Sexual Content: None besides a few hints at what men can do to vulnerable young girls. It is tastefully dealt with.
    • Violence: Some fight scenes. A few executions. Mild torture. Nothing above PG13 level violence.
  • The Makilien Trilogy by Molly Evangeline. This is actually the earlier pen name of Jaye L. Knight. This trilogy has more of an allegorical, basic good vs. evil feel to it.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: None
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. Mostly focuses on belief in God and trusting God through hard times.
    • Sexual Content: None
    • Violence: Some fight scenes and large scale battles. Mild torture. Nothing about PG13 level, though most of it isn’t above PG.
  • Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes. The first two books are out and the third book releases in October. I can’t wait. 🙂
    • Genre: dystopian
    • Magic: none
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. Focuses on pursuing God with the time you’ve been given and finding peace in God.
    • Sexual Content: Nothing besides a kiss, some mentions of attraction between a girl and boy, and one childbirth scene (tastefully dealt with).
    • Violence: This is a very intense book. The author recommends 14 and up, depending on the maturity of the reader. There are some maiming, deaths, intense action scenes, explosions, etc. Still, nothing is too graphic and sticks in the PG14 level.
  • Follower of the Word series by Morgan Busse.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: Pretty well done. The spiritual aspect is very much an allegory. I might not agree with everything, but the allegory really helped me think about the nature of Christ’s sacrifice.
    • Sexual Content: a clean PG13 level. One character is sold as a female slave and given to a guest for “entertainment” (but nothing happens). Past, impure actions are mentioned. It is all tastefully done.
    • Violence: PG13 level violence. Some battle scenes and violence like that.
  • The Bailey Baxter series by Kim Moss. A sweet, contemporary series that deals with the problems of a young girl growing up in a small town.
    • Genre: contemporary
    • Spiritual Content: pretty well done. There isn’t much spiritual aspect in the first book, but as the main character grows in her faith, the spiritual content of the books grow as well.
    • Sexual Content: some kissing. The fourth book has a few more mature themes since the main character is now graduating high school, but it is still clean and very tastefully done.
    • Violence: Very little.
  • Legends of the Woodlands by Angie Brashear. An allegorical fantasy series.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: fairly well done. It is very allegorical, so sometimes the spiritual part can be difficult to detect in the story part, and I don’t always agree with all the spiritual aspect part, but it is still a very encouraging and uplifting series.
    • Sexual Content: Clean. Some kissing. A lot of attraction between characters. This series is heavy on the romance part, though the romance is clean.
    • Violence: PG13. Some battles scenes and executions.
  • Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. A very dense, old-style fantasy-allegory.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. It is the type of series where each time I read it, I get more out of it. It is allegorical, so sometimes the the spiritual part can be hard to detect from the fantasy part.
    • Sexual Content: None
    • Violence: Some violence, but not much.

There are many more, but perhaps I’ll have to save those for another blog post. 🙂

Adela’s Curse Cover Reveal

Today, I’m helping out Claire Banschbach reveal her cover to her upcoming release Adela’s Curse. Claire has been a great friend since I published Dare, and it’s great to see her releasing another book. If you head over to her blog today, you’ll find a list of all the other bloggers participating in the cover reveal and a link for a free prequel short story for Adela’s Curse.

Adelas Curse KINDLEAbout the Book

A witch and her master capture a young faery and command her to kill their enemy. Adela has no choice but to obey. If she does not, they will force the location of her people’s mountain home from her and kill her. To make matters even worse, the person she is to kill is only a man struggling to save his dying land and mend a broken heart.

Count Stefan is a man simply trying to forget the woman he loves and save a land crippled by drought. When a mysterious woman arrives at his castle claiming to be a seamstress, he knows she is more than she seems.

Adela enlists the help of Damian, another faery, to try and delay the inevitable. He insists she has a choice. But with the witch controlling her every move, does she?

Add to Goodreads Button

About Claire

Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). She hopes her strong foundation in God will help to guide her writing.

She can be contacted through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and her blog.

Reminder

This is your LAST DAY to enter the Name That Character Contest (details found here). You guys have come up with so many great names, I’m not sure how I’m going to choose!

Thank you to those who have already entered the Fanart/fiction/photo/video contest. You still have a little over two weeks to enter. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

 

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?

Fun with Book Selfies

Okay, so I wasn’t actually planning to write this post, but I had so much fun last night taking pictures that I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

I decided to take a few selfies of me with my horse with Nadine Brandes’s book A Time to Die to celebrate the release of it’s sequel A Time to Speak (which released today! Yay! Though, only the ebook version is available. Click here for Nadine’s full explanation of why).

Anyway, I marched over to the horse pasture with book and camera in hand.

My horse refused to cooperate until I bribed him with treats.
My horse: “Can I eat it?” Me: “Um, no. That’s my super special paperback that I got signed IN PERSON. You are not allowed to so much as breathe on it too deeply.”
I’m making a sneaky ninja face while my horse still refuses to cooperate. Not enough bribes yet.
I finally convinced him to read the book with me. 😉
Another ninja face while my horse makes a stealthy sneak attack looking for more treats.
And, finally, a good one. 🙂
My horse: “Can I eat it?” Me: “No, that’s my camera.”

If you couldn’t tell by the great lengths I went to, I really, really love this series. And, if you enjoyed the characters in Dare, it is in part because Nadine was my gracious editor to point out things where “this decision doesn’t make sense” or “this character is really flat” or “this character doesn’t do anything but sit around and cower the entire book.”

Her books are available here:

Book 1 (A Time to Die) – bit.ly/AmazonATtDpaperback
Book 2 (A Time to Speak) – bit.ly/AmazonATtSPaperback

Have you ever done a selfie with a book before? How about a selfie with an animal? Ever tried doing both at once?

An Interview with Adventuring Author Nadine Brandes

Today, I’m interviewing author Nadine Brandes about adventures, writing, and other awesome randomness. 🙂

Nadine 2

You can connect with Nadine on her website, blog, NEWSLETTERGoodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google plus.

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and join the Facebook party to celebrate A Time to Speak‘s release.
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hi, Nadine! I can’t believe I haven’t interviewed you on my blog yet. Time for that to change! 

I happen to know you really like tea. What’s your favorite kind? Do you have any special way you make tea? (rituals, tips, special teapot, etc)

Ooh! My favorite kind of tea is Yorkshire Tea – I discovered it when living in York, England and I drink it with milk and sugar. When I have a long day of writing ahead of me, I’ll usually make an entire pot of it. I have a couple cool teapots I’ve collected from around the world. One looks like a globe with a lid and has pirate ships on it. That’s my favorite, haha.

A globe teapot with pirate ships on it? That does sound epic for a teapot! And living in England? That sounds like an adventure! 

Parvin Quote - ATtS

You live in Idaho not far from Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons (I’m a little jealous. I love that area!). What’s your favorite part about living where you do?

I love being able to go on adventures! In just the past two years I’ve done so many exciting things like dogsledding, rock climbing, and walking in nature for inspiration. Hubby and I got married here and even got to ride away from our wedding in a one-horse open sleigh. *Hums Jingle Bells* You just don’t get to do that in other places.

That does sound amazing! The one time I’ve been to that area, we had a blizzard in June and we had to hike through knee-high snow in our tennis shoes. It sounds like it is just as adventurous to live there! 

Unity Village, Parvin’s home town, is in a dystopian Missouri. What made you pick that state for her village?

I was living in Missouri at the time and completely adored that state. I prefer writing from experience, so I set it in Missouri simply because I’d be able to tackle the descriptions much better while living through them – down to the time of year, weather, etc.

Missouri is very beautiful. My friends and I took a road trip there this past summer. 🙂 

You take Parvin on quite an adventure in A Time to Speak. How much research did you do for the book? What was your favorite part of researching? Least favorite?

So much research! My goodness! Without giving too much away, I spent days and weeks and months watching videos, reading books, and interviewing travelers about Antarctica. I also traveled with my dad to Panama and rode a sailboat through the canal. I chased a boxcar train and ate a raw potato. If you couldn’t tell…I go all out. 😛 My favorite part of researching is probably getting to go on adventures…with a notebook. [grin] My least favorite part of research is when it’s something I can’t experience. Like…Antarctica. (Trust me, I looked up costs to visit. Um…NO.) Because no matter how much I research, there’s nothing like first-hand experience.

Even if you didn’t get to go to Antarctica, you had me convinced! Then again, you’ve had first had experience with ice and snow where you live. 

Parvin Quote - ATtS 2

What is one thing on your bucket list of adventures/things to try (besides travel to Antarctica some day)?

I want to go skydiving! Yes, because it will help me with a certain scene in a future book, but also because I really want to imagine I’m flying. And I hope that my many adventures will inspire my children to have adventurous spirits. (I’ll probably force them into adventures whether they like them or not.

Now you have me really curious for this next book!

My parents dragged my brothers and me through many adventures when we were growing up, and I’m glad they did. 

Thanks, Nadine, for stopping by my blog!

Now, Nadine has a question for all of you:

What’s an adventure on your bucket list?

Fun Fiction Friday – A Time to Speak

For today’s Fun Fiction Friday, I’m spotlighting A Time to Speak, which releases in ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any one else excited for this yet? Because I’m beyond geeked for this book!

Lucky for me, I got to read an ARC version. 🙂

About the author

Nadine

You can connect with Nadine here:

About the book

A-Time-to-Speak-Nadine-Brandes


What happens when you live longer than you wanted to? 

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

My Recommendation

Sounds amazing, right? Well, it is. In my opinion, it’s even better than book 1 A Time to Die. While A Time to Die is a sucker punch in the gut that keeps aching in your heart long after you’ve finished it, A Time to Speak is a stirring marching song that straightens your spine and sends you out into the world determined to do something. 

After the events of A Time to Die, Parvin has to come to grips with the fact that she’s still alive. Not only is she still alive, but her friends Willow and Elm are in trouble and her family is in shambles. Parvin is determined to help her friends, help her family, and help her village.

I adored Parvin’s determination, and I think it is the main reason I enjoyed this book better. While Parvin had to search for her path in book 1, she has found it in book 2. While her determination sometimes get her into trouble and makes her a tad reckless, I could connect with her need to accomplish something. Her courage and faith is inspiring.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Time to Speak (though that ending!), and I can’t wait for book 3!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Nadine is hosting a Facebook party to celebrate the release. Nadine does Facebook parties exceptionally well, so you won’t want to miss it!

A-Time-to-Speak-FB-Party-Blog-Hop-Pic

Nadine is also having a giveaway for signed copies of both A Time to Die and A Time to Speak. a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

.