Monday, December 19, 2016

The Reason For the Season

I feel like that phrase has become cliche. We say it to remind ourselves that Christmas isn't just about presents and Santa and lights and Christmas trees and cookies and parties and special movies...but how much do we think about what Christmas is really about?

Christmas is about Jesus' birth. That is what we're celebrating. We think of a cozy stable and sweet-smelling hay and angels singing and adoring shepherds, and we get the warm fuzzies over this classic, Jesus-centered Christmas scene. But I still think we're missing the point. (Though as a side note, go read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It'll give you a new perspective on that picturesque little scene we're all so familiar with.)

It kind of bugs me that we make such a big to do over Christmas, but not over Easter. Don't get me wrong, I have zero problem with making a big deal about Christmas--I love all the celebration and traditions and everything--it's the contrast in culture that bothers me. Christmas is this whole season that everyone's a part of, and unless you do Lent, Easter is confined to one little weekend. Like we're saying the Christmas story is the one that matters most.

And the Christmas story does matter. It matters very much. But I think we tend to forget that Christmas is just the beginning of the story. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary in the fulfillment of countless prophecies, angels and people worshiped him as an infant, wise men followed His star from the East to give him gifts.

And then.

Jesus grew. He taught the people. Performed miracles. Made the Jews angry enough to put Him to death. And in doing so, Jesus took our sins upon Himself and paid the price for them all. He died so that we might live. He suffered the unspeakable consequences that we deserve for our sins so that if we repent and believe, we will be redeemed--freed from all the consequences of our sin. And He rose from the grave because death isn't the end of the story. He rose and went to live with the Father in Heaven, just as we will someday live with God forever.

So this Christmas season--when you remember the reason for the season--don't stop at the wise men. Follow the story through to the conclusion. Because Christmas is only the beginning of the greatest story there ever was.

The story of how God so loves us that He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins so that we might someday have eternal life.

P.S. This will be my last post of the year. I'll be back after New Year's with a recap of my 2016. See you then and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Top Ten Books of 2016

This has been a somewhat interesting year for reading. Interesting as in I read quite a few books I enjoyed, but not very many that kept me up late or got me telling all my friends they HAD to read it. I guess I mostly just ended up reading a lot of mediocre books. That being said, there were some really good ones...some of them just may be unpublished and/or unfinished (you know I'm looking at you, author person whose name starts with a K). 

No, the Jedi Quest series is not going to end up on my top 10 list, and neither are the Monk and Doctor Who books, but I'll definitely tell you about the really good books I read this year. And these will all be books that I've finished and are published--I'm really enjoying The Mysterious Benedict Society (and don't know how I missed it), but I can't pass final judgement until I'm finished. And it wouldn't be fair to tell you about books that it may not be public knowledge I've read.

Pictures link to my Goodreads review.
10. Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird

I'd been following the Girl Defined blog for awhile and learning a lot, so it was an easy decision to preorder their book with a Christmas gift card--the first paperback I've ever preordered. The things they talked about weren't, for the most part, things I've struggled with, but I still learned a lot about what the Bible says about being a woman, and got a lot of value out of it. I also appreciate how their philosophy on Christian non-fiction (they discussed it in this video) isn't just to accept something that sounds good. They want you to evaluate it all--even their book--by the Bible. This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof

It's rare that I download a book and read it right away, but I'd been slogging through a lot of longer books that weren't necessarily page turners and friends' books that I had to edit, so when Amanda recommended it to me, I went for it. It's a super sad, sweet, historical romance that's a sort of prequel to a series I haven't actually read. But while there were a few more modern words that jolted me out of the time period, it was still sweet and heartbreaking and very enjoyable. Not to mention already edited and not very long.
8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I'd expected to be confused...and I really wasn't. I'm not quite sure why everyone says it's so hard to follow, but maybe I just feel that way because I've listened to several Dickens books and he is hard to follow at times. Anyway, I found myself in the peculiar position of disliking basically all the characters and yet enjoying the book immensely. It's so mysterious and intriguing and fascinating. Sure, it's dark, sure there weren't any characters I could relate to, but there's something compelling about it. Something about it that made it endure. After all, it's a classic. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

So I very much did not expect to like this book. I never used to be a big fan of Jane Austen, but I decided to give her another try when I was looking for an audiobook on Overdrive to listen to while sewing. And boy am I glad I did! I relate so much to Elinor, and to tell the truth, I feel like I've discovered a new author. I suppose I just wasn't old enough before. But there's something about it I really loved. Plus it was great to listen to in the car and read on the beach.
6. Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

After intending to read the Princess Academy books for, oh, nearly a year, I finally started them during my lunch break and rather fell in love with the series. Fact is, they're very deep. And as I'd read/was trying to read some rather shallow children's books at around the same time, it was very refreshing to read something like Princess Academy--specifically Palace of Stone. There's a LOT of politics in it, and if you know me at all, you know that will definitely intrigue me. There are also a lot of questions about how you know what's the right thing to do when faced with a difficult decision. Even the romance made me think. And making me think is one of the things that gets a book to stick with me. Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally

I finally managed to read it. I'd wanted to since I was probably about fifteen or sixteen, and while I kinda wish I'd read it then, I'm glad I read it when I did. It really helped solidify my philosophy on purity and relationships. It did teach me things, though I already knew most of it, but mostly it helped me understand the why. Because it's not enough to know what you believe, you have to know why you believe what you believe. On this one, I wrote a pretty long, detailed review, so I won't say more here. If you missed it when it went up and are curious, just click on the cover photo.
4. The Blades of Acktar by Tricia Mingerink

So I'd been meaning to read these books for a year and a half before I finally did. And then I read all three books that are out in a little over a week and was very glad I'd waited until Defy was out. Because let's just say it was a really good thing my sister (whose room is directly above mine) was not yet asleep when I finished Deny. And also that she'd read the books and knew what my problem was. I wasn't totally without complaint, but really, my only one was about worldbuilding. Essentially, Acktar has to be a fictional country in our world because otherwise they couldn't have the Bible. And much of the story is dependent on Old Testament Bible stories (primarily Daniel). Once I made that a headcanon of mine, it stopped bothering me that they had our history, but even so, it's hard to place it in earth's timeline because of the lack of firearms and presence of "pocket Bibles." That aside, these books are FANTASTIC and I TOTALLY see why everyone loves them. Firmament: Reversal Zone by J. Grace Pennington

Of course Grace's book is going to be on my list! I've been a fan of Grace's since I read Firmament: Radialloy back in 2013, and I've dragged several family members along with me. Because while Reversal Zone isn't my favorite of the series, it's still absolutely fantastic. I loved getting to spend more time with Andi...and she was the only one I really got to spend time with because everyone else was so messed up. And That. Ending. I really can't wait to find out what happens next. This one also has a detailed review.
2. Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek

You had to know I'd put this book on here. I didn't think I'd like it. I thought it would just be a book I had to get through while waiting for Kendra to give me more Clarand in Love and Memory.  And. Then. Petra and Reuben showed up and shoved Clara and Andrew to second place in the Kendra's Couples Ranking (yes, I totally just made that up). Seriously, though, this book has so much good about it besides just cute couples. So much about redemption and love and forgiveness and mercy and family and I can't recommend it enough. Also a detailed review when you click on the picture. Samara's Peril by Jaye L. Knight

And surprised is no one. Am I right? Because as much as I may talk about Rizkaland these days, Ilyon is so super special to me and always will be. Those books are highly treasured. They are to me as a young adult what Narnia was to me as a kid. And that really means something. Jace's struggles in this book are so intense. It's so difficult to read, and yet it means so much more when it's over. Not that his struggles are over--far from it--but this book contains a much longed for break-through. So many questions are answered, Jayrin is finally a thing, and it's just so powerful. I just keep thinking of how wowed I was the first time I read it. It's amazing. Full review when you click on the cover photo. ;)

And I'll go ahead and give honorable mentions to the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and Stars Above by Marissa Meyer because I did really enjoy them, despite some worldview differences that keep them off my top ten list.

Please take a moment to help me refine my blog!

What are your favorite books that you've read this year? Have you read any of the same ones I have?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Plans

♫Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. Fun for all that children call their favorite time of year.♫

It always strikes me funny how melancholy the tune sounds even with lyrics like that.


The Christmas season is fun and busy and awesome...and usually each one is different. After all, "Things never happen the same way twice." But that's what makes it exciting.

One thing we always do, though, is decorate. Our Christmas tree is ridiculously crowded with ornaments. So many relatives have given us ornaments, and then we tend to buy more whenever we go to Disney World. The tree may be a bit cluttered, but that's what makes it our tree. We have several little churches, a Nutcracker, some snowmen, several music boxes, and a Nativity set. One year we made a stable out of sticks from the backyard, but, while it was really cool, it was insanely difficult to make. Now I fashion the stable out of Lincoln Logs. And we have two advent calendars. One has an appliqued Christmas tree and little embroidered ornaments hanging on it which we put in pouches for each day of advent. The other is a wooden box with a Nativity on the front...and it has a door for each day, behind which is a piece of candy. We also put lights on the front of our house.

Throughout the Christmas season, we watch lots of Christmas movies and specials. We always watch Charlie Brown, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, and usually Frosty the Snowman, and we sometimes end up watching random other ones that come on TV. As far as movies go, we always watch Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story. We also fit in Scrooge because my mom and I like that adaptation best, Disney's A Christmas Carol because most of the family likes that version better, The Santa Clause because it's the only Santa Claus movie I've seen that actually attempts to make it all make sense, The Polar Express, Elf because apparently everyone but me enjoys it, and probably something else I'm forgetting. When we're staying home for Christmas, we watch It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve and make homemade doughnuts.

We give each other presents on Christmas morning...well, half the time. Sometimes we visit relatives in Indiana for Christmas, so those years we have our own Christmas a few days early. It's somehow just not the same as doing it on actual Christmas morning, but oh well. Somebody, well, most of us get books every year because we love them so much, and if you're the same way, I've still got some sales going on. ;)

What fills in the rest of the time, well, that's where things get different. For several years, it was stress and busyness due to Nativity Ballet rehearsals (and the Christmas season has never felt the same to me since, even though it's been nine years since my last Nativity). Many times, it's been a trip to Disney. This year, we have a number of things going on.

Some of them have to do with the library. Like the Christmas parade my sisters and I were in last Friday. It was fun except for having a cold. And I'll be helping out with my library's Santa and Polar Express programs too. 

My sisters and I went to a Christmas dance last weekend, which was fun in spite of being sick. I got to dance a lot more than I'd expected, and really enjoyed the evening. We also have a church Christmas party to look forward to.

Not sure if we really have any other big plans--my family is 100% introverted, so we tend to be more of the quiet evening at home sort--but it'll be a good Christmas.

What Christmas traditions does your family have? Anything special you're looking forward to this Christmas?

And before I forget, please take a few moments to fill out my blog content survey. I'm trying to adjust my blog to my readers' needs...partially because I'm constantly drawing blanks on blog post topics. ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

♫Because It's Christmas♫

*knock, knock, knock*

♫Could that be Santa? Could that be him? Could it be the one who brings presents for a cucumber like me? A good cucumber like meeeeeee?♫

I must be waxing nostalgic for childhood or something. You do know what I'm talking/singing about, don't you? ;)

So. You're a book lover, or you've got book lovers in your life. I'm sure one or both of those is true, or else you wouldn't be reading this blog. And Christmas is coming up fast. It's a time for giving gifts, and if you're anything like me, you consider books to be the very best kind of gift. may have missed some Black Friday deals on books you wanted to give. Never fear! The book fairy is here! Okay, now I'm just being silly. I'll chalk it up to long days, stress in anticipation of busyness, and a cold. Just go with it.

In all seriousness, though, Christmas sales are not yet over. I'm still running deals on paperbacks through my own website. 20% off individual paperbacks, and if you buy the whole Time Captives set, you get 25% off! Kindle books are at an even better discount: 66% off. And yes, it is possible to gift someone an ebooks. Plus, I'm keeping them all on sale through New Year's, so when you've got Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket, you can still get discounts. Just visit the "My Books" page up there at the top.

Give someone the gift of a grand adventure this Christmas. Because as Emily Dickinson once said, "There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away."

And I just HAVE to finish with this:

"I'm from the IRS. And I've come to tax your--"

*door slam*


Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 Books I'm Thankful For


Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my "things I'm thankful for" list every year. It's hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2016 and am thankful for.
  1. Samara's Peril, by Jaye L. Knight: It's the Ilyon Chronicles...and I suppose I'll be picking Ilyon as books I'm thankful to have read until there aren't any more. They just keep getting better and better. And there's so much depth of meaning. Ilyon really impacts me.
  2. Lady Dragon, Tela Du, by Kendra E. Ardnek: Because like WPFP last year, it's brought people together and strengthened my friendship with Kendra. Plus it's just a great book. Reuben's the brother I never had.
  3. Before You Meet Prince Charming, by Sarah Mally: I've wanted to read this book since I was probably about 15 or 16, but I never tried very hard to get a copy. However, when I saw it for sale at the Creation Museum and realized I still had a Visa gift card from Christmas, I took the plunge and bought it. And I'm glad I did. While it pretty much fit with the beliefs I already held on relationships and purity, it helped solidify and explain them. I can better understand the "why" now. And I did learn things from it.
  4. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen: Because it taught me that I'm now old enough to appreciate Jane Austen. And because I discovered I'm Elinor Dashwood. And because it was good to listen to while sewing, vacuuming, formatting, riding to Charleston, and to read on the beach.
  5. Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale: It was just so deep. I love deep children's books, and this one really made me think. About ethics, about politics, about friendship, about how difficult it can be to do the right thing--even to know what the right thing is--but how important it is. It, and the whole series, meant a lot to me.
I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading!

Speaking of more reading, here's one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 25-28. There's literally something for everyone. Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. Don't know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas Book Sale!


It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you.

From Nov 25 (that’s today!) through Nov 28th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies!

Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.
What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Give Thanks

I'm going to tell you about some Black Friday sales I'm participating in at the bottom of this post, but I don't want to make this post all about sales. "There's a lot of bad isms, but one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck." Bonus points if you can tell me what movie that's from. :)

Thanksgiving is this week. I'm sure everybody knows that. How do we view Thanksgiving these days? I'd say to most people it's a time to get together with family for a big feast. Is it wrong to have a good time with your family? Absolutely not. But that's not what Thanksgiving is really about.

A lot of people say it started because the pilgrims were thanking the Indians for helping them. It is traditionally linked to the pilgrims, but that's not really what it's about.

The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth wasn't to thank the Indians. It was to thank God. The pilgrims understood that God was responsible for their bounty. God was responsible for delivering them from religious persecution. God was responsible for the survival of those who did survive to see that first harvest.

Throughout American history, presidents declared national days of prayer and thanksgiving. The two were inseparable. To whom else could we possibly truly owe our blessings than to God? He is our Creator, our Sustainer, our Savior, the Author and Finisher of our faith. God is the One who provides us with air to breathe, food to eat, clothes to wear, houses to live in. He gave us our family and friends, our jobs, our hobbies, our...everything. I can't possibly even list all the blessings God gives to every one of us.

So when you're hanging out with family and/or friends this Thanksgiving, loading up on turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, watching football, doing whatever traditions you might have, don't forget who really provided this all for you. When you say "I'm thankful for _______," remember to give thanks to the One responsible for it all.

Give thanks to God.


Christmas will be here before we know it! So Christmas shopping will be upon us, and if you have any bookworms in your life, I've got the perfect solution for you.

Fourteen other authors and I are holding a Black Friday sale on our books again, both for paperbacks and kindle books! It's going to be awesome.

All of my books will be $0.99 on kindle and $7.50 each for paperbacks, plus some set discounts. Yes, I suppose this is me saying "wait till the weekend to buy my books." Oh well. I like to save money just as much as the rest of you. ;)

Curious about who the other authors are? I know most of them and have read a lot of their books, so I can personally say this sale is one you won't want to miss. Here's the list.

And if you're a blogger, you can sign up here to help us spread the word and get free ebooks out of it! How cool is that? Deadline to sign up is tomorrow.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Free eBooks for Bloggers!

It's that time of year again! Some of my fellow Christian indie authors and I are putting together a Black Friday sale, and we need your help to spread the word.

Those of you who volunteer your blog space will receive free eBooks! Is that awesome or what?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Crannig Castle Blog Tour Recap

And we come to the end. It's been quite a week, with all the typical blog tour stuff, plus the craziness of the election, plus staying up late watching Jane Austen movies while my dad was out of town, plus teaching music, plus library work including staff training...but it's been great. This has been my biggest blog tour--you guys are awesome for doing that for me. And now it's over and it's time to recap. Giveaway winners are at the bottom of the post. ;)


"This is a really great ending to the “Time Captives” trilogy. I like the parts where the story was written as if it were back in time. Instead of just hearing it explained, it is actually like I was there with the characters." --Sarah Allerding

"I enjoyed this book as much as the previous two in the series. Fans of the previous books will not be disappointed by this thrilling conclusion. Even though the Time Captives and their friends plan their moves thoroughly, they can’t predict the unexpected twists and turns that the story takes. One twist, in particular, led to an event which startled me very much." --Erika

"Anyways, I loved the characters and plot and stuff. Eleanor was probably my favorite; she’s pretty cool. I also liked Samantha and Abigail. And Jonathan, ’cause he’s the book nerd and compared a bunch of stuff to J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’s books. And the ending was amazing for this series!" --Alyssa

"She masterfully ties the threads into a complex knot of a climax. Though I'd say that the biggest knot was in my stomach as I watched Eleanor accepted her past, Adriel risk everything, and Jonathan lead troops. Then it all came together to rip me apart emotionally. I loved it." --RhoXie Mans

"The plot’s somewhat complicated, but if you enjoy faith, fantasy, and a touch of politics, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this series. Each character plays a special role in fighting for the freedom and justice of the Calhortan people. And if you’re one of those people that enjoys an actual good, satisfying ending to a series, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!"--Amanda Beguerie

"I'll be honest - I did not want this series to end. I've grown to love the characters, the story, and the suspense. There were parts where I cried; there were scenes that made me laugh. The plot line is well written, and the dialogue flows naturally (a big thing for me)." --Katelyn Snell

"I enjoyed returning to the epic battle against the strytes.  Morgan created such a fascinating world with such intricate characters.  I loved getting so see how everything turned out....If you haven't read any of the Time Captives books, please do!" --Alea Harper

"Well, here it is, at last, the final volume of the Time Captives trilogy. Please pay no mind to the shattered pieces of my heart that are scattered over the floor. The Time Captives is one of the most unique portal fantasies that I've ever read. So much so that I have harped on the author for the "next book" since I read the first one....It's hard to believe that this series has come to an end already, and while I'm thrilled to finally know how it ends, there's a large part of my that's in denial that it's over. And I might be plotting a fanfic." --Kendra E. Ardnek

Author Interviews

Character Interviews

Character Spotlights

Bonus Features Posts

 Giveaway Winners

1st prize (signed copy of entire Time Captives trilogy): Amy
2nd prize (signed copy of Crannig Castle): Katelyn S.
3rd prize (ebook of Crannig Castle): Sarah G.

Congratulations! I'll be emailing you for the information I need to get you your prizes.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out with this release! I can't thank you enough.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Writing Forward

Time Captives is complete! Time Captives is complete! My long hard labor of nearly four years is open to the public....

Now what?

When Kendra suggested I talk about my future writing plans (you can thank her for half the post topics on my blog this week), I realized I tend to forget to tell you what I'm planning next. While I was still working on Time Captives, it wasn't such a big deal, but now it's complete...what happens next?

First off, Time Captives related news. Well, I can't promise spin off novels any time soon. They're all suffering from a terrible disease known as Lack of Plot. However, I am exploring the possibility of creating a Time Captives-related...product. I don't want to officially announce it before I'm sure if I can pull it off, but I think I can. If I can do it, it should appear within the next year. I'll tell you more once I get farther along.

Now, as for what I'm publishing next, that'll be Twisted Dreams, currently planned for July 2017. As you probably already know, it's the Sleeping Beauty retelling I wrote for the Five Magic Spindles contest last year. The premise? What if, when Sleeping Beauty fell asleep, she woke up in another world? I'll be telling you a lot more about it in the months to come, but for now, you can explore my Pinterest board for the story.

Unfortunately, that's the only publication I have planned for next year. I've discovered that two releases a year is just too much work, too stressful, and doesn't leave nearly enough time for writing. And I need some time for writing.

Sometime between now and January, I plan to start another (hopefully last) major overhaul of the Cassie story, my outer space dystopian. I have a lot of plot holes to fix, and I have to replot the rest of the trilogy. My expected publication for that book is summer/fall 2018 (and maybe some deleted chapters as an ebook prequel shortly before that), and I hope to be able to release the second book a year later, the third the year after that. No promises on following books; there's also a possibility I may push back the rest of the trilogy in favor of an Espionage sequel. 

So basically, I'm slowing down my publishing schedule to allow more writing time, but I will be giving you something every year. Enjoy the finale of Time Captives, and look forward to some cool sci-fi to come! 

Saturday, November 12th
· Book Review at Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings
· Book Review at O. Scarlett! Reviews
· Character Interview at The Epic Place ~ Theodore Hubbard
· Character Spotlight at Bookish Orchestrations ~ Thomas Hubbard

Join in the excitement of Crannig Castle and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive signed copies of the entire Time Captives trilogy. The second prize winner will receive a signed copy of Crannig Castle. The third prize winner will receive an eCopy of Crannig Castle in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 11, 2016

Character Q&A Part 2

Curious about Adriel's answer? Here's the rest of the character Q&A. Read part one here.

    I glance at my notebook, then grin widely at Adriel. “In keeping with this sort of topic, Adriel, my mom asked if you have a crush on Jill.”
    Jill’s eyes grow wide and a blush infuses her cheeks. Adriel looks confused.
    “Do I…what?”
    “Do you like her? Like in a special way.”
    Jill hides her face in her hands. Now it’s Adriel’s turn to blush.
    “Um, I…do I have to answer that question?” Adriel stammers.
    I laugh. “I think your reaction gives us a pretty good idea of the answer.”
    “But I…she’s…I’m not quite fifteen yet.”
    “Trust me, in my world, kids like to pair up younger than that.”
    Adriel looks around the group—everywhere except for in Jill’s direction. “We’re friends. That’s it.”
    She peeks at me through her fingers.
    “Kendra asked if you have a crush on Adriel.”
    I barely catch her murmured answer. “I’m only eleven.”
    “Is that a no?”
    “I’m just a kid. I’m not old enough for that.”
    “That’s not a no.”
    “Please stop.”
    Knowing how much I've always hated “the boyfriend question” myself, I decide to drop the subject. “How about some sibling questions for both of you? Adriel, which sibling did you get along best with growing up?”
    “Does that exclude Rae, since I’m eight years older?”
    “Well, I used to get along pretty well with Ariela, my older sister. We were pretty close. Rae is a lot like her…only less bossy. I never did get along well with my brothers.”
    “Yeah, I know. If you ever get a chance to fix that, well, don’t waste it.”
    “I don’t intend to.”
    “Jill, my mom asked how you really feel about Emily and if Joey frustrates you sometimes with his immaturity.” These are kind of sensitive questions still, but I’m glad not to bug her about Adriel anymore.
    Jill lowers her hands from her face. “They’re my siblings. I love them no matter what. Yes, sometimes they do frustrate me, but that gives me something extra to pray about.”
    “That works. So Emily.” She looks sharply at me. “My mom asked if you ever get in trouble at home for your attitude towards your siblings.”
    Joey bursts out laughing. Emily glares at him.
    “It’s such a mom question,” Joey says.
    “Yes,” Emily says tersely.
    “And Kendra asked if your time in Calhortea has changed you.”
    “How could it not? I’ve gone to another world. Of course I’m not the same person I used to be.”
    “Any specifics?” I ask.
    “No,” she says. “Anyway, aren’t you supposed to be the one keeping us from giving spoilers?”
    “Yeah, but I’m a spoiler addict. Just ask my sister.” Actually, she’d be all for my starting that spoiler addiction support group Kendra and I like to talk about.
    “Do I get my question yet?” Joey asks. “You said I get a fun one.”
    “Sure.” I feel like being obliging. “This one’s from Addy. She said, so now that you know other universes exist, what other universes that you thought were fictional would you like to visit now?”
    “Are fictional worlds real?” He’s very excited at the prospect.
    “Well, Addy’s rationale was that since you’re in a fictional story, for you, all other fictional stories are real too. Not sure how I agree with that, but it’s her question.”
    “I’d definitely go to the Star Wars galaxy. It would be so awesome. I could meet Luke and Leia and Han and Chewie, and go on the Millennium Falcon, and visit the ewoks, and it would so much fun.”
    “Yeah, and you could see Order 66 or watch Kylo Ren murder all of Luke’s Jedi. It wouldn’t necessarily be fantastic.” Even though the last Star Wars movie I watched was Return of the Jedi, the sad parts of the story still stick out to me more right now.
    “Yeah, Phantom Menace is the most recent one for you. You haven’t seen any of the mass slaughters. Just you wait. As I wait. To find out who Rey’s parents are. I swear she’s Luke’s daughter.”
    “Are those spoilers?” Joey’s starting to get it.
    “Yeah. Ignore me. I can’t keep my mouth shut. Moving on. Abigail, do you miss playing the violin?”
    She jumps, as if she’s not expecting me to address a question to her. “Not anymore. I did when I was in Kalica, but after what happened at Crannig Castle…” She trails off.
    “I suppose it is kind of tainted now. It’s too bad. Violins are awesome. And George. What’s it like to be two hundred?”
    “It is not extremely pleasant.” George looks pensive. “I have seen far too many years, and I continue to carry guilt from many of them. Perhaps some do well with such a long life, but I find that I weary of it.”
    “I wish you’d been able to live those two hundred years to the fullest,” I say. “I’m sure the dungeon got tedious.”
    “It most certainly did.”
    “So the last question from my mom is for Eleanor. Do you feel like a twelve-year-old, or do you feel every bit of seventy two years old?”
    Eleanor glances at Grant before answering. “I haven’t felt twelve in a long time. I may not have grown up physically, but I did grow up emotionally. I feel like an adult. I’m not sure if I exactly feel seventy two, as my body is still the same as it has been for the last sixty years, but I don’t feel twelve.”
    “Interesting,” I respond. “Just know that I do wish you had been able to grow up physically. Because I can’t make myself sorry that I shipped you with Grant.”
    “I’m not sorry for that either,” Grant puts in.
    “That gives me the perfect opportunity for Kendra’s last question. Grant, if you were given the chance to go to Eleanor’s world, would you?”
    “In a heartbeat. Then all our problems would be solved, wouldn’t they, Ele-anor?” He takes her hand. I can tell she’s not sure what her reaction ought to be, but she doesn’t even try to pull away.
    “Maybe. I don’t know how I’d explain you to my family.”
    “We’d find a way. We always find a way to explain things.” Grant grins at her, as if he knows his statement isn’t quite true and wants to get a rise out of her. Eleanor just shakes her head.
    “I love you two. But we need to finish up the questions. Quick, Theodore, Addy asked, what gives you the right to be snobby to other people?”
    “My father is a plantation owner. I am a prominent person. I deserve the accompanying respect.”
    “You know,” I say carefully, “you’ll get more respect if you act humble. And you’ll deserve it more too. You should try being respectful to others.”
    “Like that will work.”
    “Try it out sometime. Now all of you, Moriah wants to know how you feel about complete strangers reading your story.”
    “There are strangers reading our story?” Adriel cries.
    “Well…yes. You guys write it down eventually, and I package it for them. Cut out the boring parts and streamline the story.”
    “Like the Red Book!” Jonathan exclaims excitedly.
    “Actually, very much like the Red Book,” I confirm. “I knew you’d get the reference.”
    “Well, I think it’s awesome,” Joey says. “We’re famous!”
    “Hardly.” I don’t think he realizes that I’m shattering his fame and fortune.
    “I’d rather not be out in the world for everyone to know,” Jill says. Murmurs from most of the cast seem to concur with her statement. What can I say? I’m an introvert. Most of my characters will likely be introverts.
    “I agree with Joey,” Vannie pipes up. “Maybe if enough people read my story, they’ll stop me from having to marry Kermit.”
     “I don’t think it works that way, Vannie,” Kyle tells her.
     “Maybe, maybe not,” I say.
     “I just like that we have a Red Book,” Jonathan continues.
    “Of course you do, and so do I,” I tell him. “I love you all, and you’ve been great. We’ll have to do this again some time. But I have to say goodbye now. See you soon!”
Friday, November 11th
·        Book Review at Bring Your Own Books
·        Author Interview at HOPE Through the Pages
·        Character Spotlight at Written Rest ~ Connor
·        Character Spotlight at Leah’s Bookshelf ~ Jonathan Hubbard

Get Creighton Hill and The Crossways free on kindle! 

Join in the excitement of Crannig Castle and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive signed copies of the entire Time Captives trilogy. The second prize winner will receive a signed copy of Crannig Castle. The third prize winner will receive an eCopy of Crannig Castle in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

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Character Q&A Part 1

So my characters are talkative. And I'm going to split my Q&A into two parts. Come back this afternoon for part 2!

    I slip my shoes off and walk across the warm sand to where the Time Captives and their friends are waiting for me. Vannie and Kyle are having a rather animated discussion—at least, Vannie is animated and Kyle is listening; Eleanor is clearly still debating whether or not she trusts herself to talk to Grant (a young Grant, despite the time discrepancy); Rae holds tightly to Adriel’s hand as she looks shyly around the group; Havilan looks quite at home with Joseph, Olivia, and Adriana, despite being the only elf.
    I tuck my notebook under my arm and wave. “Hello, everyone!” They turn to look at me.
    “The author’s here! Everybody hide!” Joey yells out.
    I shake my head, but I can’t help smiling. “You know, I saved you from being maimed,” I remind him. “If my family had been in control instead of me…”
    He raises his eyebrows. “Are you saying I need to be grateful?”
    “Definitely.” I look at the rest of the group. My villains aren’t here yet, so I’d better prepare my characters. “Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable. I have some questions for you from some of my family and friends that we’ll get to in a minute, but first, um…well, they asked a few of the villains questions too.”
    “Sir Roland isn’t going to be here, is he?” Vannie narrows her eyes at me. “Because that would not be nice to Kyle.” She pauses, then looks up at Kyle. “Sorry I called your father a villain. But he did try to kill my papa.”
    “Vannie, you don’t have to keep apologizing. I know what he did.”
    “No, he’s not coming,” I assure her. “Just Captain Herb, Draewin, and Toarna.” I glance at Havilan. He winces, but other than that, no reaction. “I’ll get their part over with as quick as I can.” Ah, there they are, coming up the beach in merfolk custody. Toarna won’t appreciate being treated as a prisoner, but I want to make sure my good guys feel safe.
    I seat myself on a towel on the sand and open my notebook in preparation. My characters follow my example, some more reluctantly than others. I smile brightly at my three villain guests. “Hello, and welcome to my first ever character Q&A session.”
    They don’t share my good humor, but I can hardly blame them.
    “Toarna, you’ve been through an interview with me before. Why don’t you go first?”
    “I’m queen of these lands. Why must you treat me as a prisoner?”
    I sigh. “I just want everybody to feel safe. You can’t deny you’d like to kill almost everybody here.”
    She stares at me, her expression aloof.
    “You just have one question, and it’s a fairly easy one. Kendra wants to know how you met and married your husband.”
    “Why is that any of her business?”
    “Trust me, if you’d been to any of the Q&A sessions my friends have done, you’d know this isn’t too nosy of a question. You’ve told me before, when it was in a private setting. How did you meet?”
    If eyes could shoot daggers, I’d be dead by now. “Mudan was a commanding officer in Chalton’s army. He was stationed near my home. We met, we fell in love, we married. And then the Time Captives brutally murdered him. Will you release me?”
    “After I talk to Draewin and Jeremy,” I promise.
    Draewin looks even more sullen than Toarna. “What do you have for me?”
    “Addyson has a string of questions for you. Do you love your brother? Why do you work for Toarna? Are you willing to give your life for her cause? Why or why not? And how does that make you feel?”
    Draewin stares for a moment, then answers, “Yes. She promised me a position in her court if I secure her throne. I’d prefer not to. It wouldn’t benefit me to die. And…what?”
    “It’s a sort of joke we have. Freaky Friday (2003). Thanks. And quite a few people have questions for Jeremy. My mom wants to know how you could turn Eleanor over to Toarna after she helped out when you were an orphan.”
    “She caused my daughter’s death.”
    “Not actually,” I contradict. “She was ill and the doctor wouldn’t help because of your piracy. In my book, that was your fault.”
    “It was Eleanor’s fault,” he reiterates.
    I avoid looking at Eleanor. There’s a reason I want to get the villains done as quickly as possible. “Kendra asked, if you had been offered an honest job that would have paid comparably to what you collect as a pirate, would you have taken it?”
    “Considering it was impossible to make as much money as a merchant sailor as I did as a pirate, I believe that’s a moot point. Do I wish I hadn’t become Toarna’s privateer? Absolutely. She’s made my life miserable.”
    “I saved your skin. You would have been captured and put to death by now if not for my employ.” Toarna’s certainly grumpy right now.
    “All right,” I break in before they really start arguing. “One more question for Jeremy, and then you can all go. Rebekah wanted to know if your crew has ever threatened mutiny.”
    “What kind of a question is that? Does she doubt my authority as a sea captain?”
    “Well, considering you’re a pirate…” I trail off.
    “If they had, I wouldn’t disclose it.”
    “Well, that’s a wrap on villain talk.” I gesture for the merfolk to take them away. “Good talking to you three.” They’re muttering as they go, but I can’t catch their words. “Now the fun can start.”
    But my characters are eyeing me suspiciously. “Are we going to have to answer personal questions?” Eleanor asks.
    “Well…just be glad you’re in a middle grade book. Most of my friends’ Q&As are full of relationship related questions. You guys will only get a few.” They don’t look very comforted.
    “Relationship questions?” Eleanor ventures.
    “Surprisingly not for you,” I tell her. “But I think I’ll start with Rae’s question.”
    “There’s a question for me?”
    She’s excited, but I’m afraid she won’t be after I ask. “It’s a question from Kendra. Do you remember your parents?”
    “Oh.” She leans her head against Adriel’s shoulder. “Yes. Mummy was only sold a year before I was, and Daddy died after that. I was five. I can remember when I was five. It’s Jaysen and Ariela and Aitan I don’t really remember.”
    “I’m sorry you have such a tough life.” I sigh, then continue. “Vannie.”
    “Yes?” She bounces on her knees.
    “It’s another one from Kendra. If you could do whatever you like when you grow up, what would you do?”
    “Not marry Kermit.” She pauses.
    “Is that all?”
    “Well, I don’t really have a plan. I like going to Court. Maybe I’d still just do political things. Somebody has to.”
    “Agreed.” Vannie has my involvement in politics, to be sure. “And Kyle, who is your role model?”
    “Not his father,” Vannie pipes up.
    Kyle looks pensive. “My tutor, Janson. He’s a Christian and a scholar, and he has taught me well and been a good example. He always respected my father’s wishes as to what I was taught, but he still taught me well.”
    “So is he like Doctor Cornelius?” Jonathan asked.
    “Doctor who?”
    I burst out laughing.
    “What’s wrong?” Kyle asks.
    “The fandoms collide,” I say. “Doctor Cornelius is a character from Narnia, and Doctor who? is a sort of running joke in Doctor Who.”
    They all stare.
    “Okay, moving on. Joseph, Olivia, and Adriana, I’ve got a few questions for you from my mom and Kendra. Joseph, my mom wants to know how you knew for sure you couldn’t leave the island. How many of your ancestors were fried before you figured it out?”
    “Are character Q&A sessions always this uncomfortable?” Joseph asks.
    “Um, often they’re worse.”
    “Thanks a lot,” Joey says.
    “Oh, you’re getting a fun one,” I tell him. “So, Joseph.”
    “The merfolk who enacted the Redona under Mudan’s orders informed us of what would happen,” he explains. “However, some tried to leave anyway, and others, like my parents, were killed when wild beasts chased them over the border.”
    I draw in a slow breath. “I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through.” I try to ignore the fact that I’m the one who created the circumstances. “Kendra asked a similar question for both you and Adriana. What happened to any other relatives you might have had?”
    Adriana looks at her brother, then speaks. “Our line was not very fruitful. It is a hard life, cooped up on the island with wild animals all around, and few are willing to voluntarily confine themselves to such a life. So we were never very many, and the rest of us succumbed to the conditions.”
    “I’m sorry about that. Adriana, Kendra also asked, how did you meet Havilan?  And how did you get to know him?  After all, you were trapped on an island, and he doesn't live there.”
    Adriana sends a shy glance in Havilan’s direction and many of the characters exchange amused smiles, though Joey rolls his eyes. “The elves have been our friends these two hundred years. After Joseph’s and my parents died, they did much to care for us, Havilan among them. He became a close friend.”
    “And Olivia, Kendra also wants to know how you met and fell in love with Joseph.”
    She smiles up at him. “My father was a merchant sailor, and one of the few who dared set foot on the island. He, along with the elves, would bring them supplies and added company. I occasionally accompanied him, and in the process met and fell in love with Joseph. We married, and I have lived there ever since.”
    “Awesome.” I glance at my notebook, then grin widely at Adriel. “In keeping with this sort of topic, Adriel, my mom asked if you have a crush on Jill.”

Friday, November 11th
·        Book Review at Bring Your Own Books
·        Author Interview at HOPE Through the Pages
·        Character Spotlight at Written Rest ~ Connor
·        Character Spotlight at Leah’s Bookshelf ~ Jonathan Hubbard

Get Creighton Hill and The Crossways free on kindle! 

Join in the excitement of Crannig Castle and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive signed copies of the entire Time Captives trilogy. The second prize winner will receive a signed copy of Crannig Castle. The third prize winner will receive an eCopy of Crannig Castle in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway