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Monday, November 10, 2014

Welcome Guest Authors Megan Linski and Natalie Erin

Today I have TWO new books to share with you. Yes, two. Both of these lovely novels are published through Gryfyn Publishing.
Check them out and like them on Facebook to learn more about these books and their upcoming releases!
Alora by Megan Linski

Alora Blurb: For hundreds of years, Alora has been queen. Ruling over the most remote regions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, she spends her summers riding upon a wild stallion, her winters as a winged wolf, never aging, forever at an eternal sixteen. 

This is what it means to be an Anmortal. 

Centuries pass until the arrival of something new in the woods, a small boy named August. Alora watches through the years as the child grows into a young man. Slowly she finds herself falling for him, unable to tame her wild heart. Madly in love, she ignores the fact that humans and Anmortals can never be together...a mortal cannot love a creature that lives forever. 

Distracted by romance, Alora doesn’t notice that there is a monster lurking in the shadows, a hunter who is determined to make Alora his prize. With no time left to run and no way out, Alora is about to make the most challenging decision of her life. What's more important...her true love, or her freedom?

Author Bio: Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she completed her first (short) novel at the age of 6. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for people aged 14-24. When not writing she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, theatre, archery, fishing, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder. She lives in Michigan.

So winged wolves? What’s up with that?

Wolves are my favorite animal, and I love anything with wings, so it only seemed natural to put them together. I see a lot of fantasy art of wolves with wings on different websites but have never seen a book about them, so I figured I’d write the first.

Can you tell us a little about your main character?

Alora is an immortal being (an Anmortal) who is a winged wolf in the winter and a young woman in the summer. She’s lived like this for thousands of years, and nothing for her has changed until a boy moves in nearby. Then it gets sort of tricky.

A love story, then?

A complicated one, haha. Things can be difficult for your relationship when one of you lives forever and the other one doesn’t, and the one who lives forever has to keep it a secret. 

Who’s your favorite character in the novel?

The Windcomer. He’s this giant metal beast that hunts down Anmortals, and since Alora is the last, she’s next on his list. He’s dangerous, but at the same time his personality is so alluring, you don’t realize you’re trapped until he has you.

Okay, it's clear you love fantasy. What's your favorite fantasy read?

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, no contest. It’s the book that actually inspired Alora.

All writers need fuel. Tell us what's your go to writing snack.

Usually I motivate myself with food. No eating until that chapter gets done! 
Horseback or Rowboat?

Horseback everytime.

Chocolate or vanilla? 

How about chocolate cake?

If you wrote a fan fic piece about any fantasy world, which would you choose?

I’ve written fan fic before, about Harry Potter and a couple of my favorite cartoons. It’s actually one of the ways I really improved in my writing and learned how to write a story properly.

If you could have a writing retreat somewhere, where would it be?

Northern Michigan. It’s the setting where Alora takes place, actually. When I’m visiting I feel like I could just write for hours nonstop. Things just seem magical up there.

Kiatana’s Journey by Natalie Erin

Kiatana’s Journey Blurb: Dragons fly, animals can speak and fairies rule over all in the realm they call the Lands, a place that is both beautiful and dangerous. Only one myth remains...Changers, beasts who can morph into any creature at will, and their Accompanies, the mysterious riders who command them.  Chaos begins when a Changer called Ionan and his Accompany Keota crash down from the sky. They are found by two orphan wolf pups searching for their mother, and the fairy Kiatana, owner of the Verinian Forest. Kiatana refuses to trust the handsome stranger, or believe the story about his troubled past, but she soon finds she has bigger problems as a plague begins to spread throughout her land, killing all in sight. With no option Kiatana heads out on a quest with Keota, Ionan, the two wolves and her trusty pegasus to find a cure before the forest is destroyed forever. But danger has a way of finding her, and Kiatana isn’t sure if she’ll survive the road ahead...

Author Bio: Natalie Erin is a young author specializing in the fantasy genre. The Creatures of the Lands series has been her life’s work since she completed the first draft of Kiatana’s Journey in 2008, and she has been madly writing ever since. She has a love for creatures of all shapes and sizes (mythical and real) and considered becoming a veterinarian before realizing that her true passion lied in writing. When not working on her next book, Natalie advocates for animal welfare and wildlife preservation. Even though she’s an adult, Natalie still believes in fairies.

Kiatana’s Journey is about a fairy who has to save her forest from a deadly illness. What are some of the problems she faces on her quest to find a cure?

Kiatana has to battle elves, climb mountains, solve riddles, and fight monsters to save her home. But I think the biggest problem is that she gets in her own way, and if she isn’t compromising herself then one of her friends are. All of the characters on this quest have internal demons, and they surface more frequently than most of them would like. 

Internal demons?

All of the characters have been damaged by the past in some way, and this has resulted in individual flaws that slow down the group as they travel. Lost love, a broken family, loneliness, grief, you name it and its there. Each of the characters try to ignore what’s happened to them, but what they find out is that to find a cure, they must confront their worst fears, and it’s never easy. 

Sounds like really heavy stuff. Is there any time for fun?

There’s nothing but humor in this novel. If someone’s not upset they’re making a joke. I think humor is one of the things that banded this group together in the first place.

You wrote this book in 2008. Why publish it now?

I think that this book took six years to perfect and get right. And I don’t believe that the time was wasted whatsoever. 

Friendship is one of the themes of the series. Are your friends like Kiatana’s?

My group from back when I was in high school resembled Kiatana’s so much. Now that I’m older I can’t say that too many of them have the same traits.

Animal sidekicks, love 'em or hate 'em? Do you have a favorite? 

LOVE THEM. In Kiatana’s Journey there’s nothing but animal sidekicks. The wolf pups, Lottie and Lilja, are like my children, but I have to say that the Changer Ionan’s my absolute favorite. He can transform into any creature, and he’s so intelligent. He’s never at a loss for words. 

Okay, it's time to divulge a deep secret about yourself: what's one thing you're afraid of?

I’M COMPLETELY FEARLESS!!! Except for cornfields. I don’t do cornfields. 

Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Halloween, because I can be disgusting and dress up to scare people. 

Tell us one of your favorite things about your story.

I enjoy how my characters interact. They’re not exactly bosom buddies. Kiatana’s group is a bunch of rag-tag outcasts who are forced to journey together to find a cure for a mysterious illness that no one knows about. They’re always either arguing, being really sarcastic, or saving each other’s lives. There’s no in between there. They’re the exact opposite of who you want to bet your life on, but unfortunately the creatures in my world have no option. It’s like being in the middle of a giant group of friends who stick together because as much as they hate to admit it, they need each other. 

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t accept your first draft for what it is. Seriously. My first draft of Kiatana’s Journey was the first book I ever wrote, and it was a complete disaster. There’s still things I shudder about when I remember that draft. Edit and revise! 


Monday, November 3, 2014

Pitch Wars: A Novel Idea

I'm lucky enough to be able to participate in Pitch Wars this year. I have an awesome mentor, I've met a bunch of other writers who are just as passionate as I am, and I feel like my writing has been validated. All in all, it's a great experience. And I love it.

My novel is a YA urban fantasy titled: WITCHER.

When seventeen-year-old Allie wishes she can talk to her deceased mother, becoming a ghost isn’t what she has in mind. But she accidentally unleashes a curse that's turning her into one. 

Cody, the one-handed boy next door, can save her by taking her place--and he's willing--but Allie can't bear to lose someone else she loves. 

But why did I write this particular novel?

The idea came from a question: What if a girl went witching for bodies and accidentally summoned the dead.

Do you know what water witching is? How about water dowsing? It's when you use a certain kind of rod, called a witching rod (or sometimes two, depending on the type you're using), to try and locate an underground water source. If you're really curious you can check it out

The thing is, you can witch for all kinds of things--including bodies. Because I've actually tried this, I thought it would be a fun story question. And it was, but not so much for my characters who actually summon the ghost. A ghost bent on vengeance. And she plans to get her vengeance by trading placing with Allie, and making her the ghost.

It's not the only reason I chose to write this book, though. I wanted to write a story about forgiveness. And most importantly, about looking into your scarred past and learning to forgive yourself.

This is part of a blog hop with other 2014 Pitch Wars participants. So share the love, and check out a behind-the-scenes look at these other great stories!

Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meet the Author: Nadine Brandes

I am so excited to welcome Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die, (one of my favorite books!) to my blog today. She graciously answered a bunch of questions, and I love how cheerful and down-to-earth she is.

So let's give her a warm welcome!


Nadine, tell us about yourself in four words.

Bookworm. Passionate. Wanderlust. Believer.


What inspired you to be an author?

I could try to break it down and say my grandparents and parents all thrived on storytelling (which they did), but to be honest…I was just born with a passion for words. “Being a writer” is synonymous with “being a human” to me. I have to write, otherwise I’m not fulfilling the role for which I was created.


What are three hobbies you like aside from reading?

Oooh, cruel question. But I shall rise above the challenge! I love playing board games, traveling (can that count as a hobby?) and playing the piano.


Okay, it must be known…what is your favorite dystopian book?

Well, the first dystopian book I read was The Hunger Games and it got me hooked (though I can’t say the same for the rest of the series), but my favorite would probably be Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. However, some people have argued that it’s not actually dystopian. Either way, it’s fantastic.


Tell us a little about your own book.

Imagine that you have a Clock on your bedside table that shows you exactly how long you have to live, down to the very second. In fact, everyone has a Clock like this. That’s what my book, A Time to Die is about. It starts with a seventeen-year-old girl who has one year left on her Clock and is trying to find purpose in her last year.


Any advice for aspiring writers?

Go to a writer’s conference! This is the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone who wants to grow in his or her writing craft. I know a lot of writers are introverts and that writing conferences can seem expensive or intimidating, but it’s the next step. Take it. Be brave!


Random fun:

Coffee or tea? Tea. Definitely tea.

Airplanes or boats? Probably airplanes, though both get me motion sick. I’d rather take a train. [grin]

Winter or summer? Pre-Christmas winter. After Christmas it’s not as enjoyable, but I’ll still take cold over hot any day. Fireplaces! Fuzzy socks! Hot tea! Baking!

If you could meet any author, who would it be? J. K. Rowling, hands down. She inspires me and I’d love to chat over coffee (meaning tea, lol) with her someday.


Thank you so much for having me!


About Nadine

Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she's not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel. You can find Nadine online at:

Her website             Facebook             Twitter             Pinterest


Book Blurb:

How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

Find A Time to Die on Amazon in e-book and paperback. This is book one in the "Out of Time" trilogy (subsequent volumes coming in 2015 and 2016).

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Time To Die Blog Hop

Today I'm part of a blog hop for this awesome, newly released Christian dystopian novel A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes.

In celebration of the new release, there is a GIVEAWAY! I know, right? I loved this book, and not only for the amazing story and characters I loved hanging out with. I loved how it made me think about using the time I have wisely. Here's what I mean:
How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.
But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall —— her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

For this blog hop I was asked to answer one question: How would you spend the last year of your life?

That's a tough question.

The first thing I would do is spend time with loved ones--family, friends, and God. Not the kind of time where I would hurry up and try to fit in every last thing I ever wanted to do with them, but the kind of time where I could just hang out. You know? Soaking up their presence. Be still, be me, and be in their company.

Like I said, this includes time with God. I would want to spend so much time with Him. And the number one thing I'd be asking is how He wanted me to spend the rest of my time. I would follow His path the best I could, wherever it leads.
A Time to Die blog hop
Then, I imagine, I'd have to get over the fears. Fear is a time waster. A time killer. I'd have to get over being afraid to die and leave those I love. I'd have to get over being afraid of trying and failing. And I'd have to get over being afraid of doing whatever it was God asked me to do. Because He tends to ask things of us that we really can't do alone. And I'd have to trust that He gave me enough time.

The next thing I'd do is write more. I'd write letters to everyone I love. I'd write my fiction books to the world and hope the messages they need to read would be clear in my characters' journeys. I'd write because I love it, it's the passion God gave me.

I wouldn't sleep much. Time is precious as it is. I imagine I'd try to spend as much time awake as humanly possible.

And I know this sounds so strange, but I would slow down to stop and smell the roses, count the blessings, and take joy in the simple things. This is hard for me (a huge planner!) to say. But it's the little, unrushed things in life that we often overlook when we're trying to make the most of our time. And maybe that's why time starts to fly so much.

To learn more about A Time to Die, you can connect with the author on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

And now it's time for that giveaway. Am I right?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Writer's World Blog Tour

Hey all! I'd like to introduce you to a couple of wonderful writers I know.
First up is Scott Abel. He's one of my amazing critique partners.

In addition to several short stories, he's the author of the YA paranormal romance and supernatural suspense novel, Sunrise, for which he's currently seeking publication. Works in progress include a sequel to Sunrise entitled False Light, and a commercial fiction novel for adults entitled, The Promise Keeper.

Scott is a former high school football coach and collegiate athletics administrator. Law school graduate--even though he doesn't practice law, it was definitely worth it since law school is where he met his wife. He's a football fanatic, but has a passion for all things sports-related. Grew up a PK--his dad is a retired United Methodist minister. He lives in the suburbs of Austin with his wife and two daughters who enthusiastically assist him in his search for the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

You can learn more about Scott and his writing at his blog.
Fun thing about this blog is that I get to answer a few questions about my writing. I was asked to answer four questions:

1. What are you working on?
I'm currently working on book two for my recently contracted novel Children of the Blood Moon. Book one is about a dagger-wielding orphan who has to save the race of people known as the Feravolk. But there's no way she's going to help them; they killed her family.
2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
This YA fantasy is set in a medieval setting, which I'm not seeing a lot of today. My characters who were born with special talents that may or may not be useful for fighting the sorceress queen they must go up against--talents like detecting storms or reading people's emotions. Book one is about a young woman who's afraid to love because the loss of loved ones made her feel helpless before. And she never wants to be helpless again. 
3. Why do you write what you do?
I love fantasy. All of it. I'm also writing a ghost story right now, and a superhero story, oh and a story about Phoenixes. I also love YA. I remember what it's like to escape into a story and I want teens (and adults who want to stay young, like me) to be able to escape into the stories I write.
4. How does your writing process work? 
I get an idea and write it down. Then I make a rough outline of the important points like the end, the turning point, and the beginning, of course. And then I get to know my characters. What are they like? What do they do? What are their hopes and dreams? What do they want most in life, and why can't they have it?

Once I know them, and I know how my story starts and ends, I start writing. My characters have a way of making choices I didn't see coming that develops the plot as the story progresses. Once that's all down on paper, I get to revise everything--add new twists and turns and take out the scenes that just weren't working--and then I edit. I find editing fun because I get to pick and choose the right words and tighten up all my sentences so the words disappear and we're left with just the reader and the story. And maybe a bowl of popcorn, or hardtack if it's medieval.

So now that you know a little bit about me and my story, it's time to introduce the next writer on this tour. The lovely Lisa Godfrees.

Former forensic scientist turned seminary student turned stay-at-home mom turned writer, Lisa Godfrees is living the dream. A native Texan, Lisa knows there are only two real seasons: summer and sprall (spring/fall). Lisa enjoys digging into the Bible to learn more about God (she calls it "theology) and is passionate about writing and reading young adult speculative fiction.
Her goal is to put a new spin on Bible stories that get people, especially youth, interested in reading the Bible.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Guest Post from Author Janalyn Voigt

Please give a warm welcome to guest author, Janalyn Voigt. Her novel, Wayfarer, book two of Tales of Faeraven, releases today, and we're lucky enough to get a glimpse of this marvelous world through the author's eyes.

Special Offer for Today Only (January 3rd, 2014):

In celebration of the release of Wayfarer, book two in Janalyn Voigt’s Tales of Faeraven trilogy, her publisher is offering her book at a 50% discount. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

An Accidental Meeting (by an Author with a Character)

By Janalyn Voigt

What’s that?

It’s strange to meet anyone else on this forgotten track through the woodland tangle, but I swear something moved alongside that stream just ahead.  I strain to see, freeing one arm from my book bag, in case I need to run. Those few who have survived an attack by one of the jaggercats or shaycats that prowl the deep woods always say they never saw or heard a thing, and this creature casts too small a shadow over the water to be a bruin. It’s probably no more than an elk or deer, poised to run at my approach, but a woman traveling alone and so far off the beaten path can’t be too careful. There’s something about this dark forest that sets my nerves on edge, as if the trees whisper secrets.

An unexpected sound floats on the air, and almost I can’t take it in, so out of place is the scrap of melody. I know the ancient lay it belongs to but can’t name it. Fixating on this smaller puzzle postpones the greater one of why a maiden would be singing in such a place. That the sound comes from a maiden is clear. If I hadn’t guessed it from the sweet purity of her voice, I would know it from the sight of her, for she’s moved into my line of sight. The hood of her cloak has fallen back, and as she bends over a patch of pale flowers nodding on the bank, her unbound hair sways about her. It is thick and black, untouched by gray.

Perhaps the song on her lips kept her from noticing me sooner, but all at once she lifts her head and stares at me, not unlike the frightened doe I mistook her for. Her eyes are the vivid blue of the sky, their gaze without guile.

I pull a shaky breath into my lungs. “Well met.” My voice is too jovial, but then relief has made my head light. Politeness prevents me from asking why she’s gathering flowers so far from safety and alone, but of course I’m wondering.

She rises with slow grace, and the soft light filtering through the trees touches a face I recognize. Although Aewen wears a simple tunic, the wild bouquet she clutches makes her look like an elven bride. “You startled me.”

I laugh. “We’re even, then.”

“Even? Do you mean we’re of a height?” Her brow puckers.

“Paid back.”

She stares at me as if I have taken leave of my wits. “Is there some debt of which I’m unaware?”

“No. I’m sorry to confuse you.” Of course, she would not understand my modern lingo. This is Elderland, a world I should know well, for I discovered it in my writings. I have stepped into time at the beginning of Aewen’s story, which I have recorded in the pages of Wayfarer, book two of Tales of Faeraven. “Are you gathering herbs to heal the poor?”

Her eyes widen. “How do you know this?”

“Just a guess. Do your parents know where you are?” It’s not really fair to ask her this, since I already know her parents don’t trouble themselves on her account—at least they don’t yet—but she’s looking at me with suspicion and I want to throw her off.

“I’ll not be looked for at Cobbleford Castle until evening.” Her brows draw together. “Forgive me, but why do you wear a man’s garb? And by what strange weaving is your satchel made?”
Obviously I’ve not succeeded in distracting her. I’m wearing jeans and a long top that could pass for a jerkin. “I’m not from these parts. This is how we dress in my land.”

“What brings you here?”

That’s a question I’ve asked myself, one with answers only another writer can understand. I smile a little and speak the simple truth. “I couldn’t stay away.”

As her eyes narrow, I step backward, ready to return through my computer into my closet writing office.  Most often when I visit Elderland, no one notices me. Really, I prefer that.

About Janalyn Voigt

As children, my older brother and I would beg my father for bedtime stories, and he would give them.  His deep voice rumbled against my ear at his chest as he unfolded stories of exotic places like Oz and Neverland. My imagination carried on with the tales even after he closed the book for the night. When eventually he stopped reading stories, I began creating my own. 

Within a few years I’d become storyteller of my neighborhood. The other children would gather in a circle on our lawn while I invented stories to entertain them. No one, including myself, thought of this as anything unusual. It wasn’t until my sixth-grade teacher pointed out my ability to spin a tale that I and my parents took note. This is how at the age of twelve I decided to become a novelist. At it turns out, the fulfillment of that dream took a few more years than planned. 

Find out more about Janalyn, her closet writing office, and her books at the author website for Janalyn Voigt.

DawnSinger: A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?

WayFarer: When an untried youth ascends to the high throne of Faeraven, his mistakes tear kingdoms apart and allow just one chance at redemption. He must humble himself before the man he banished.

To view a book trailer of Wayfarer click here 

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