Friday, November 26, 2021

Free and 99¢ eBooks!

The indie author Black Friday book sale is back! There's a lot of great stuff on there, including some of my favorites, like Elven Alliance and Ilyon Chronicles. Plus several of my books are on sale! You don't want to miss it!

Monday, November 15, 2021

My Brain is a Series of Gifs


It's...been awhile. Partly because school, partly because at the beginning of October I got Covid, and then once I was better I had to play catch up on life/school and now it's getting towards finals and yeah. It's been crazy.

So yes, I survived Covid.

Sorry/not sorry for all the gifs. If you can't spam people with gifs, what's even the point in life? Also, this is the state of my brain right now, and I don't even have as many papers to write as my sister.

Ahem. I mean my experience with Covid. Actually, while I was pretty miserable for a few days, it wasn't like I was being tortured with The Machine.

Fever: not fun. Stomach ache: also not fun. Exhaustion: not fun either. The migraine that messed up my stomach again when I thought I was on the mend: super annoying. Strange/reduced smell/taste: bizarre. But I only ran a fever for about two days as opposed to over a week last time I had the flu, and also, I got bronchitis last time I had the flu and no secondary infection with Covid. And thankfully, my taste and smell seemed to go back to normal after a week or two. But it was weird while it lasted. And hey, I'm recovered now and yay for natural immunity.

Um...what else has been happening? School. I'm pretty much done with my argument paper about speculative fiction in the Christian community. It's been a fun paper to write. And for some reason, even though I never used to be able to write with the TV on, with this paper, I can't seem to write without it. Cue the Merlin binge.

Best. Show. Ever.

Should I ramble on about this show and how absolutely, positively fantastic it is and how much I love these characters, especially Arthur because in spite of his flaws he has such a good heart and he grows so much and is one of my all time favorite fictional characters? No? Maybe? Or, well, I've done that a couple times already. It's seriously the best show, even though it throws me to go back to the beginning and see good Morgana again. 

I was also watching it while writing a history paper about how the Magna Carta challenged King John's absolute power...while watching Uther exercise his absolute power to sentence Gwen's father to death for consorting with a sorcerer. And all I could think was

Uther is so awful.

Though NO ONE is as bad as THIS guy.

He's seriously THE WORST. All the hatred for Agravaine for manipulating Arthur into making horrible decisions, keeping Arthur and Gwen apart, sabotaging Camelot, getting Gaius kidnapped and tortured, making Arthur doubt his true friends, and just being an all round horrible human being.

Okay, I meant to have a more profound, coherent blog post than this. But this is apparently the state of my brain right now. (And also dreams that are basically modern AU self-insert Star Wars fanfics where Jacen Solo holds me hostage and I escape him by going into a library where my dad rescues me...even though I avoid both modern AUs and self-inserts like the plague. Modern AUs are stupid. And my brain is a strange place.) 

Anyway, Thanksgiving is next week, and I always hate to be like this because Thanksgiving isn't about shopping, but it does mean I'll have several of my books on sale (or free!) on kindle for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. And like most years, there's a group of us involved in the sale. So stay tuned!

And Acktorek-wise...Covid derailed my series planning, but that's on my Christmas break to-do list...along with watching Lord of the Rings. Extended edition, naturally. I might have mentioned I'm looking forward to Christmas break in several different German assignments. I know it'll go by way too fast. But I plan to enjoy every second of no homework and no 8 am classes.

Because once I get to Christmas break, for this semester, at least

So, um

Monday, September 20, 2021

I Still Exist!

Sorry I've been gone so long. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on here before, but I've never been good with change or disruptions to my routine. And starting college has definitely been a major change in my routine. Especially since this night owl scheduled herself 8 am classes every day. 35-40 minutes away on a good traffic day, leaving early enough to beat the rush hour traffic. Knowing that she'll get migraines and/or stomach aches if she doesn't get enough sleep which means going to bed several hours earlier than she likes.

Wasn't I brilliant?

So yeah, it's been a pretty major change and a little overwhelming, and a lot of other things going on including routine but expensive car repairs and finding out I have osteoarthritis in my right foot (yay, ballet!). But I think I've finally started to settle in and get a handle on what I'm doing (I say as I just finished a 4 test week that had me swamped). Hey, I've started sneaking in a few minutes of reading when I'm waiting for my classes to start, I'm on my fifth Ranger's Apprentice audiobook of the semester (commutes are good for something), I'm loving my statistics class (who knew? actually, I was really looking forward to that one), and in general I like being in school. Which I guess is a good thing given that I'm getting a degree in education so school will be my life.

Writing? What's that?

Okay, so I haven't exactly been writing other than adding bits and pieces to random fanfics, BUT that isn't to say I've been ignoring Acktorek. See, going to Realm Makers always seems to tell me I'm missing major pieces in my current WIP. And while the sessions didn't point out all of the missing pieces, they started a snowball effect of noticing all the pieces I don't have. One of the big ones was a series goal.

See, this episodic series format is TOTALLY different from anything I've ever written before. The only series I've written was Time Captives and that actually wasn't intended to be a series. It was one book that kept ballooning until I had to split it into first two then three (two really didn't work structure-wise). Also, Acktorek wasn't originally intended to be a series at all. It started out as a short story from a writing prompt, became a non-serious novel project just to learn to have fun writing again no-stress, then became a serious novel, then I decided to leave it open for a sequel in case I had ideas, then I had a tiny spark of a concept idea and jumped into a sequel knowing next to nothing about what I was doing with it. Sounds like a terrific process, right? Nope.

I want it to be a series because I love the concept, I love Emma and Mitchell, and I have tiny sparks of ideas that I want to develop into full novels. Like space pirates. But even aside from my book specific villains not having a well-defined plan (obvious issue), I realized I really needed something more coherent to tie everything together.

I started looking at series that I enjoy for guidance. Primarily Timeless (somewhat similar concept except time travel, not world travel), and Jedi Apprentice (one of the major inspirations behind Acktorek the company and the concept of the series/structure). I also looked a bit at Jedi Quest, Young Jedi KnightsMonk, and Ranger's Apprentice, though not as much. Some things I noticed were the existence of overarching storylines, recurring villains and other characters, multi-episode/book story arcs and a finale that brings it all together (sometimes that finale is for the series overall, sometimes it's just for the story arc...or sometimes both). 

For instance, in Monk, it may not be explicitly mentioned in every episode, but a series long storyline is Trudy's murder. There are pieces along the way that drive it forward, but it's not actually solved until the series finale. 

In Timeless, they may be in a different time period with different supporting characters in each episode, but you've got a recurring villain (first Flynn, then Rittenhouse and I'm not going to explain that any better because MAJOR spoilers). You have continuing storylines, like Lucy trying to get her sister back after she was erased by their first trip. You also have Wyatt trying to Back to the Future his dead wife back to life. (And things get way complicated and are not at all what you thought they were, but anyway.) And something the writers said about how they chose where to send them stood out to me. They looked at where they needed the characters' emotional arcs to go in that episode and then picked a time period/historical event that could do that for them. 

Jedi Apprentice has multiple story arcs: Xanatos (which has a couple of mini arcs within it, like Melida/Daan), Jenna Zan Arbor, Tahl's kidnapping...and a couple of other books that are more like standalone adventures (my favorite was The Fight for Truth because of baby Siri, but I also liked how the last book brought things full circle by placing Obi-Wan in a situation reminiscent of Melida/Daan and showing how much he's grown and matured since the early part of the series). Then Jedi Quest picks up some of those threads from the previous series with Xanatos's son Granta Omega being the recurring villain, working alongside Jenna Zan Arbor (and Zan Arbor then was a fairly major factor in Last of the Jedi). Not every Jedi Quest book contributes explicitly to the Granta Omega story, but those that don't are still crucial in developing Anakin's emotional journey as well as his relationship with his friends Tru Veld and Darra Thel-Tanis and his rival Ferus Olin, which contributes immensely to the final book titled—wait for it—The Final Showdown. (Super obvious title aside, that book destroyed me as a kid, and again rereading it as an adult, and every time I reread the ending when I pick it up for a moment at the library. I'm never going to get over it. Or the end of Secrets of the Jedi.)

All of this is to say, I've been thinking about how episodic series actually work, and what makes them coherent stories even when each installment takes place in a different time or on a different planet (or in a different world). And I've been brainstorming how to accomplish this in Acktorek based on unexplained things in book one, background worldbuilding I did for the post-RM rewrite of book one, and other things that pop into my head. I'm not going to say what I've come up with because (1) it's not solidified yet, and (2) *River Song voice* spoilers, but I'm coming up with stuff. Hopefully it will revolutionize the series and make things really work (and be amazing, obviously). And you're not going to know where it's all heading for awhile because I'm not going to spill, but it will be heading somewhere. (And then maybe I'll rework a plot I came up with for a different project as a next generation story. I'm actually pretty excited about the idea of doing that.) Don't know how long it'll take—I'm not the fastest writer even when I'm not in school—but things are happening, if slowly and not in ways that are easy to see and measure.

And now I'm going to go read because every once in a while I manage to find a little time to do something fun.

Ta ta for now!

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Mysterious Benedict Society Show Review


The Mysterious Benedict Society season one is complete!

I first read the book years ago and loved it, then listened to it this year to refresh my memory in preparation for the show. I can't say the details of the book are completely ingrained in my head—twice isn't quite enough for that—but still, it's a book I love and I was anxious to see a well done adaptation.

There will be two parts to this review: Spoiler Free and Spoiler Filled (where I'll mostly be talking about specific changes from the book and how I felt about them. Don't worry, I'll give a warning before I head into spoiler territory.

First, what it's about, for those of you who may not know. 
After winning a scholarship competition, four gifted orphans are recruited by the peculiar Mr. Benedict for a dangerous mission to save the world from a global crisis known as The Emergency. Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance must infiltrate the mysterious L.I.V.E. Institute to discover the truth behind the crisis. When the headmaster, the sophisticated Dr. Curtain, appears to be behind this worldwide panic, the kids of the Mysterious Benedict Society must devise a plan to defeat him.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the show. Hollywood has a strong history of completely ruining books, totally missing the point, and stripping out the heart of the story. (A Wrinkle in Time 2017 comes to mind...) This show stuck to the heart of the book, to the message of it, to the main point. It had the same quirky feel, most of the main characters were true to their book counterparts (I'll get into the ones that were not in the spoiler section), and most of the major plot points were the same.

The kids were well cast. The only one I wasn't sure of for a while was Kate, because I just wasn't feeling a lot of emotion from her performance or seeing a lot of variety of facial expression, but she grew on me. And, I mean, she had her bucket! The bucket's a pretty big deal when it comes to the Great Kate Weather Machine. Reynie was great (I've always felt like I related to him the best), Sticky was pretty spot on, and then there's Constance. Constance was fabulous. They did age her up from the book, which I understand was quite necessary and they completely avoided specifying her age, but man. That personality was spot on.

Okay, I'm not sure how much more I can say without a spoiler tag, so here's just some generic comments. It's clean, quirky, fun, relevant to today even though the book came out nearly 15 years ago, enjoyable for all ages, and on the better end of book to screen adaptations, even if it's not at the top of the scale.


Like I said, the casting of the child characters was good. Each child did a good job embodying the heart of his or her character. Constance especially. She's supposed to be obstinate, stubborn, and, well, in the book she's two. Obviously, they couldn't pull that off, but she still managed to embody Constance Contraire's essential contrary characteristics and just make me feel that she is Constance. Number Two, Rhonda, Milligan, and Miss Perumal were well cast as well. The only thing I'm not sure I care for with the casting of Number Two relative to Mr. Benedict is that she doesn't look significantly younger than him. In the book, both Rhonda and Number Two passed Mr. Benedict's tests, but he couldn't put together a team before they grew up, so he ended up adopting them. TBH I thought Kristen Schaal was older than Tony Hale, but she is younger...just not enough for it to make sense for Mr. Benedict to adopt Number Two. So I guess it's a good thing they never really explained why Number Two and Rhonda are there.

Mr. Curtain, or rather Dr. Curtain as they call him in the show, well, he's different. In the book, Mr. Curtain is in a wheelchair and always wears dark glasses so no one will be able to tell when he falls asleep due to his narcolepsy. In the show, no wheelchair, no glasses, and not only do they not really touch on his narcolepsy until the last episode, when Sticky says that his trigger is anger (as it was in the book) Reynie corrects him that it was actually feeling vulnerable. I feel like they tried to humanize him, particularly by making S.Q. Pedalian his adopted son. In the book, S.Q. was an adult executive who was very loyal to Mr. Curtain, didn't see his evil, and wasn't particularly bright, likely all because of being repeatedly brainswept (having his memories erased). In the show, he's a kid, Mr. Curtain's adopted son, and I guess he is still pretty loyal to Mr. Curtain, but a little more willing to see that something's wrong. They also changed up Mr. Curtain and Mr. Benedict's backstory by having them together in the orphanage until they were twelve, at which point, Mr. Benedict was adopted and Mr. Curtain wasn't. This did create some interesting drama between the brothers, and illustrated how even from a young age Mr. Curtain was all about controlling others, but it completely contradicts The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. I don't know, I'm not really on board with the changes to Mr. Curtain and S.Q. It kind of worked, but I would have preferred for them to stick to the book on that. Also, just in general, it seems like they forgot about narcolepsy all together for several episodes. Mr. Benedict should have fallen asleep a lot more than he did, and Mr. Curtain shouldn't have waited until the finale to show any signs of narcolepsy.

I did like how they added a storyline about the adults. The book is primarily from Reynie's POV, so from the time the kids arrive at the L.I.V.E. Institute until the adults actually join them on the island at the end, we really don't know what they're up to, other than watching from shore and sending the kids messages via riddles in Morse code. So it was cool for them actually to have stuff to do. I felt like it added to the story rather than detracting, and it felt authentic to the tone of the whole story.

TBH, I didn't really like the whole tetherball storyline. It wasn't in the book, and it served to make Martina Crowe a sympathetic character. See, in the book she's a dedicated messenger and she hates the Society, mostly, I think, because she feels threatened by how well the boys are doing and how quickly they become Messengers. She's a minor antagonist to them (minor because Mr. Curtain is obviously the primary antagonist). In the show, Kate fake-befriends her to get her keycard (rather than using a code found on a note S.Q. left for himself), then betrays/frames her, then Kate confesses and that makes Martina decide they're friends after all so she helps defend Kate in the finale. It was kind of weird. I don't want Martina to be good.

Which somewhat leads into another change I was disappointed about, though maybe I shouldn't have been? See, in the book, when Kate gets back from her scouting mission, her sneakers are wet, so Reynie spills orange juice on them so there's an obvious reason for that. Jackson and Martina, trying to track down a spy (Kate), don't find the clues they're looking for in her bucket, so the kids think she's safe. Until it's mentioned that Jackson lost his licorice, which is on the bottom of Kate's shoe. The kids pass it around to get it away from Kate, but Constance eats it, and looks a little green, which they blame on a fake stomach bug the boys supposedly had earlier in the book. Which gives the kids the idea to make everyone get a "stomach bug" to ensure that Sticky and Reynie are the only Messengers available for use in the Improvement wherein Mr. Curtain will boost the power on the Whisperer and totally control everyone. They...skip all of that by having Sticky be Mr. Curtain's favorite Messenger. I guess maybe they thought everyone at the Institute puking was a little gross or something, but I was disappointed they changed it.

The Whisperer was (mostly) done very well. The only thing I didn't like about what they did with it was that they had it get to Sticky to the point that he was turned against the Society for about an episode and a half before he snapped out of it. But it was that perfect soothing that's actually secretly sinister and Constance breaking it by simply being her obstinate (and also somewhat psychic) self was fabulous.

All along the way, though, there would be little things out of the books that made me very happy. There were almost no changes to the tests at the beginning, even down to Number Two mistakenly saying that children caught cheating would be executed. 😂 Reynie gave Mr. Curtain ribbon bookmarks so they could spy on his notes, they had to help the girls cheat in class, they did get rid of the mud in the Waiting Room but I guess that's a minor thing, a lot of the riddles were from the book, Milligan was very Milligan and while they didn't delve into his proper reunion with Kate what they did give us was sweet, Miss Perumal still wanted to adopt Reynie, they broke the Whisperer and Mr. Benedict got Mr. Curtain's men to stand down by pretending to be his brother, Mr. Curtain got away so he can wreak havoc in the next installment...


On the whole, The Mysterious Benedict Society on Disney+ was an enjoyable, satisfying adaptation. Even if they deviated from the storyline and certain character portrayals at times, they did appear to understand the true heart of the book and Mr. Curtain's plot, as well as who each of the four kids truly is.

Yes, I'm going to nitpick the differences. Always. The Hunger Games movies are pretty darn high on my book-to-screen satisfaction scale and I still nitpick the changes they made with those (particularly the omissions of Madge Undersee and Delly Cartwright and how splitting Mockingjay into two parts totally messed up the story structure...and how they made Gale a nobler character by totally changing the reason he was whipped in CF).

Even so, this is an adaptation I'd watch again. That's definitely a recommendation from me, since I flatly refuse to rewatch Johnny Tremain, Ella Enchanted, The Secret of NIMH, Caddie Woodlawn, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, A Wrinkle in Time (2017), The Westing Game, The Tale of Despereaux, won't even try Percy get the picture. This show isn't perfect, but it's still a good one. The book is still better, as it always is, but this is a good adaptation that hopefully will lead to more of my beloved Society. 

P.S. I don't honestly know how much I'll be blogging going forward. School starts in a week, and until I'm in it, I don't know how much I'll be swamped with homework. Also, with that limited time, working on Acktorek 2 will be more of a priority than blogging, which I'm sure Acktorek fans will appreciate. But I'll try to pop in here once in a while to let you know I'm not dead. 😉

Monday, July 26, 2021

Realm Makers 2021 Recap

Realm Makers was awesome! Still one of the best experiences of my life. There's nothing quite like Realm Makers. 

Before the conference started on Thursday, I, my sister, and our other roommates, Jaye L. Knight and Tricia Mingerink, went over to the St. Louis Science Center. It was cool and we had a good time hanging out. Then it was time for the conference!

Frank Peretti's keynote was really inspiring, and I had no idea he was so hilarious! He talked a lot about having a long term perspective rather than being focused on the difficulties of our current circumstances and really, about how God knows what He's doing. The things that seem bad now may actually turn out to be the best things for us. We don't want to end up marrying Hephzibah. 😉 It was also really great having a mentor session with Frank Peretti. Tricia hadn't gotten an appointment, so I invited her to come along to mine just as she'd invited me on her appointment to see Jill Williamson last time. I really enjoy doing mentor sessions together. It's a lot of fun. And we had a good conversation that reminded me to go back to the basics when plotting my stories. I really think I've been overcomplicating things.

With Frank Peretti after my mentor session

Kara Swanson's Shadow launch party was a lot of fun, though I didn't get any pictures. I still need to read Dust, but I'm certainly planning on it! It's been on my (way too massive) library to read list for awhile and I'm looking forward to it. So many books, so little time!

I went to all of Caleb Breakey's marketing sessions, and they were good. The biggest takeaway I had was that we should all be ourselves. God made us unique from each other. He put His thumbprint on each one of us. We can admire other authors, but we can't be them. We have to stick to the truth of who we are. If we try  to be someone else other than who God made us to be, we'll only be miserable.

Also, I met Nadine Brandes!!! She is so super awesome! I even got a hug. 😊 Yes, I carted all five of her (not exactly small) books to St. Louis and had them signed. I had to! My backpack was a lot lighter once I took them and my signed Frank Peretti books back to the room...  Seriously, though, meeting Nadine was one of the big highlights of the whole experience.

Nadine is so awesome!

Speaking of meeting authors...

My sister and me with Dave Wolverton/David Farland!

This is Dave Wolverton, author of The Courtship of Princess Leia and Jedi Apprentice: The Rising Force! I've met a for real Star Wars author! We didn't realize it was him beforehand since he was listed as David Farland, which is the name under which he writes fantasy. But yes, it's the same guy, and yeah, we were totally fangirling over his Star Wars books when we went to meet him. I haven't been able to watch his sessions yet (he was in the room they were having trouble streaming and I've been too busy playing with our new kitten to watch them even if they were available last week, though as of yesterday, they're finally up), but my sister went to them and they sound pretty awesome. He was really cool and my only regret is that I didn't realize ahead of time who he was and order a copy of The Courtship of Princess Leia to have signed.

My favorite sessions were Carla Hoch's. She's hilarious ("No one's getting stabbed sloppy on my watch." "This is a bullet wound. It's all cleaned up and ready for church.") and super informative. She taught three classes on wounds and fighting and they were all really spite of some graphic wound pictures. 😝 She initially took one self defense class because she needed to write a fight scene, and then she just kept on taking classes on all kinds of different fighting techniques and learning about all kinds of different injuries. She wrote Fight Write to share her knowledge and help other authors with their fight scenes, and I can't wait to dive into it! Also, I had a really productive mentor session with her where she helped me brainstorm some much needed worldbuilding for Acktorek: The Vanished. She's great.

At my mentor session with Carla Hoch

Of course I have to talk about the awards banquet. It was so much fun! SOOOOOO many people stopped us for a picture. It was great. I even had a little boy (who was dressed as the Eleventh Doctor) ask me "Are you Obi-Wan?" Certainly made me happy. 😊 And mostly it was fun because it was a thing we did together. I mean, the four of us did a lot of things together (including eating at Fuzzy's probably a few more times than was good for us), but doing a group cosplay is tons of fun. And there were lots of other great costumes as well. My favorites were probably Kate Wetherall, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope, and of course Baby Toothless and Family (Hiccup and Astrid). I mean, how can you really beat a baby dressed as Toothless? It was the most adorable thing. And some really awesome-sounding books won awards! Between my sister and I, we brought several of them home, and I can't wait to dive into them!

Rex, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka before the banquet
AKA Tricia, Addy, Me, Jaye

The book festival was fun too. Chocolate covered strawberries and meeting Sara Ella who was also really awesome and hanging out with my friends and chatting with fellow Realmies and just wishing it wasn't all about to end. Then Addy, Jaye, Tricia, and I went out to the fountain to chat about everything from our characters to the Bible, again, trying to forget that it was coming to an end.

With Sara Ella at the book festival

The worst part of Realm Makers is saying goodbye. It's a really unique group of people, and there's really nowhere else that's just as (if not more) focused on building your faith as on building your writing craft and author platform. And Jaye and Tricia are some of my very best friends. I'm very glad we text each other all the time, but it's not the same as hanging out in person for days, talking about everything under the sun, learning new things, meeting cool people, and building up and supporting each other. But alas, the time always comes to go home.

Last picture before going home 😢

Still, I now know that I am capable of driving halfway across the country, even through cities (though I'm still not sure I'm ready to tackle downtown Atlanta...metro is enough for now). I may not like it, but I can survive. And audiobooks like William Shakespeare's Star Wars and Thrawn: Alliances make the drive much better.

And then last Tuesday we got a kitten! I know it's not really Realm Makers related, but I have to mention him, because he's super cute and 100% the reason I haven't gotten much done this week. He's sleeping on me as I'm writing this, and it's the sweetest thing ever. His name is Pippin after Peregrine Took, his birthday is Star Wars Day, and even though I've never been much of a cat person, I already love him dearly. 

Pippin watching The Clone Wars 😍

Monday, July 12, 2021

Costume Pictures, Realm Makers is Almost Here, and I Actually Wrote Something!

 Yeah, I don't have a fun, snappy title for this.

Anyway, I passed my last CLEP test last week, so I've gotten back into writing. It's not going as fast as I wish it would, since I'm blazing a new trail right now, but it's interesting, and, as my friend reminded me, "books are written one word at a time." Still, I'm determined to finish this draft of The Vanished before I start school in mid August. I really want to have it done by then. And maybe this time the second half will work well enough to just edit.

There's my writing update. Can you tell I've already killed my brain with studying? 

Anyway, Realm Makers is THIS WEEK!!! I CANNOT WAIT. 

But I know what you really want to see after that title. Costumessssssss.

I finished them! And of course my sister and I had to try imitating the poses from the Revenge of the Sith promo photos. Which was fun. If you're on my email list, you've already seen some of these, but I have more. Here ya go. Let me know in the comments what you think!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Interview with C.E. Stone, Author of Starganauts

Today C.E. Stone is visiting my blog to talk about her new Christian space opera, Starganauts! I haven't read it yet, but it sounds pretty cool. I mean, how could it not? She was inspired by Star Wars and LOTR. 😊

First, a little bit about the book.

Kaity Anderson was a new bride on her wedding day. Samantha Harris was an engineer who had given up all to follow God.

Kaity’s reception is ruined when an alien gunship incinerates the surface of Earth. Rescued from the apocalypse by a strange prophetess, Kaity, her husband, and five others are drawn across the galaxy. While the prophetess promises God has a plan, Kaity grows increasingly desperate as their chances of survival—and water supply—dwindle.

Samantha didn’t ask to be God’s prophetess. Yet once she answers the call, the Spirit leads her to an inhospitable world with Kaity and several of Earth’s survivors. Hounded by the master of the gunship, the Earthlings search for water as their alien pursuers and dehydration close in. Only God’s promise of a future in a distant city gives Samantha any hope of survival. But could the answer to all their problems lie in eight, mysterious orbs? The discovery of these crystals will change their lives—and the destiny of galaxies—forever.

Thus begins Starganauts, a clean, compelling Christian space opera adventure by C.E. Stone. Fans of Star Wars and Star Trek will enjoy this series that explores how God’s plan prevails, even against impossible odds.

And now for the interview!

Where did you get the idea for Starganauts?

I can’t give you a single source. The idea first came to me as I was playing Legos as a child, and grew as I continued watching many sci-fi shows and movies. Star Wars, Star Trek, Starcraft, Lord of the Rings, and Titan A.E. all influenced it. I grew up with the first 2 franchises, which cultivated my love of sci-fi. “Knights of the Old Republic,” in particular, inspired some of my characters’ backstories. The Lord of the Rings inspired me to create an expansive history and universe. The video game Starcraft influenced my actual stories and peoples, as I literally created Starganauts stories using their world-builder and making mock video game campaigns. Titan A.E. is where the premise comes from: the end of Earth was their beginning.

Which of the characters is most like you?

Kaity Anderson. I’ve often been described as empathetic, cheerful, and an encourager. I like to be there for others in hard times. Yet I’m timid by nature, I don’t like being in the spotlight, and change is hard for me. My character Kaity is very much like this. She’s a quiet, behind-the-scenes encourager. She likes to make sure everyone is okay, and she prefers a predictable life. Indeed, the only great differences in our personalities are that I’m a fairly content/cheerful person and I don’t have trouble letting go of the past. Kaity is discontent, struggling to accept reality and move on from the loss of what she wanted her life to be.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? The easiest part?

Figuring out the science. I have a great love for science, and God’s creation continually blows my mind. Unfortunately, I have a terrible memory for scientific facts! I can read about infrared sensors and 100% understand how they work, in the moment. 15 minutes later, I’ve forgotten most of what I just read, so I have to reread everything again to incorporate scientific elements into my story. I lean heavily on my husband to help me, because facts and data are my weakness. He’s got a brain wired for science, and will give me answers that often blend actual science with theoretical. It helps immensely when I’m writing space opera.

The easiest part was world-building. I’d already created a rich history, distinct worlds, and varied aliens over 7 years of Lego play. It was super fun finally realizing all these cultures and planets on the page. I also enjoyed updating some of my sillier childhood ideas, making them sound plausible or even cool. I enjoy world-building and, if anything, I have to scale back from including TOO much detail. 😂

What is your favorite thing about writing?

Writing is a way I connect with God and glorify Him through my words. My favorite moments are when I’m typing away and the Holy Spirit suddenly fills my mind with an idea. I know it’s totally not what I had planned, but I go with it…and the result is an incredible scene. Consequently, my favorite thing about writing is being inspired by the Holy Spirit. And those exact scenes are often the ones that touch people the most.

What do you hope readers get out of Starganauts?

That God works through even the most impossible odds. He is living and active in our lives, and has a plan and a purpose for us. That He can bring beauty out of the deepest tragedy and that He loves us, not for what we accomplish on our own strength, but for the simple fact that He made us. Our identity rests securely in Him.

Those are the messages I hope to convey as an encouragement to fellow Christians. For those who aren’t believers, if they do read my book, I hope to demonstrate that Jesus is real, relevant, and that His grace and mercy are only a prayer away.

Thanks for interviewing me and for your fantastic questions!

You're welcome! It was great to have you!

Make sure you go check out Starganauts!