Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Dream of Home

I received a copy of A DREAM OF HOME by Amy Clipston from Zondervan via BookSneeze.  It is the third installment in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series of Amish fiction.  I requested this book as I enjoy reading Amish fiction and I love sharing such stories with my mother, who is an even greater fanatic than I am.  We visit Lancaster County in Pennsylvania once a year.

A DREAM OF HOME left me with mixed feelings.  In regards to the romance, it was sweet and left me with a smile.  Saul, an Amish man, has been hurt by his wife’s abandonment, and Madeleine, his new English neighbor, is wounded from her fiancĂ©’s death.  They are drawn to each other, a bond made stronger by Saul’s daughter, but they fear their different worlds will keep them apart.  I couldn’t wait to see what happened with their romance. 

On the other hand, some parts seemed contrived.  I never had a strong sense of what Saul looked like, apart from a moment when he’s updating her cabinets and she marvels at his strength. 

For those who have read others in the series (I have read and enjoyed the first book), they will enjoy seeing past characters return.  

Escape from Witchwood Hollow

How far into the hollow would you go?

After losing her parents in a terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria escapes New York City to Arnn—a farming town with more legends than residents, and a history of witchcraft and secrets best left buried.

Everyone in Arnn knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope when she should be afraid, and a past of missing children and broken promises.  To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness. How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?”

ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW is my first novel.  This young adult fantasy, published through Curiosity Quills Press, is now available for purchase. 

Yes, this is my very first novel now out in print.  You have no idea how exciting this is for me!  Okay, if you're also a published author, than you have an inkling... ;-)

I'm offering up a free eArc of ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW.  To enter for your chance to win a copy of ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, you will need to share the cover.  This can be on your blog, Facebook, Twitter… Each time you share the cover image, log it into Rafflecoper to record it.  It will give you more chances to win.  There are other ways to enter.  You’ll have to take a look to see what those are!  The drawing for the winner will be held on November 16.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guess Who: Noah's Boat

I received a copy of GUESS WHO NOAH’S BOAT from Kregel.  It is written by Matt Mitter and illustrated by Ela Jarzabek.  It is, in one word, adorable.  The pictures are bright and the characters, always smiling and colorful, remind me of stuffed animals.  The book itself is hard and cardboard-like, so it is perfect for young hands.  The spreads include flip-up areas that reveal more exciting pictures.  The theme of the book involves “guessing” who is hiding behind bushes, crates, and so on. 

I loved how easy the flip sections were to find.  I recall books from my childhood when I had to struggle to locate what flipped, and even then I missed some.  Yes, it was thrilling to discover them later, but it felt refreshing to find them the first time through.

I can see adults buying toys to match the animals in the story.  The pages contain poem verse, so as children grow older, they can recite back the poems.

The message of the book, Noah’s Ark, is strong.  This is an excellent way to introduce young minds to the Bible.  I highly recommend this.  I will be passing it on to a friend for her infant.  This is definitely a winner.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


It might be a bit early for enacting New Year’s resolutions, but is it ever too early to plan?  I decided on a strict set of goals for 2015 in regards my profession as a writer. 


Professional Development


Provide developmental support for Curiosity Quills authors and focus on my own talent development.

Objective 1: Expand writing resource pool and support development of fellow authors by learning a new genre with a focus on young adult.

• I will score three stars or higher on average ratings.

• I will create a short story on the newly learned genre of young adult. 

• I will submit the short story to an anthology.

• I will assist fellow writers with understanding the new genre.

• I will communicate regularly with my agent, including monthly check-in meetings to ensure I’m on the right track.

• Draft team-writing schedule with a critique partner to create a story in the new genre.

Objective 2: Continue to strengthen and develop writing skills.

• Review best practices for writing through Internet sites, such as

• Enhance the skill of influence to create powerful paragraphs.

• Utilize critique partners for constructive feedback.

• Study and practice through exercises, projects, and online classes to improve my skills.

• Encourage fellow authors, in particular members of the Utica Writers Club.

Objective 3: Produce new Creative Writing Workshops to support the community and enhance my teaching skills.

• Polish “How to Write a Query Letter.”

• Polish “How to Write a Synopsis.”

• Polish “Foreshadowing.”

• Polish “Editing Skills.”

• Polish “Engaging the Senses.”

• Polish “How to Land a Literary Agent.”

• Polish “How to Gain a Publisher.”

• Use feedback to revamp current workshops.

• Co-facilitate workshops with fellow authors.


Enhance Business Mindset


Transform the Utica Writers Club with better delivery skills and materials.

Objective 1: Support the implementation of internal member workflows.

• Revamp current bylaws.

• Create bylaws for new officer positions.

• Work with local authors to create a stronger network.

• Keep the website updated.  New material must be added within one week.

• Enhance advertising skills.

• Host at least one bestselling author per year.


Maintain the Business


Continue to connect with readers and fellow writers through the use of social media.

Objective 1: Update my blog.

• Post a personal message once a week.

• Blog about book for Bethany House, Kregel, etc.

• Host cover reveals and blog tours for fellow authors.

• Host contests.

• Review books for fellow authors.

• Participate in blog hops.

Objective 2: Update Facebook author page.

• Host contests.

• Post three times a week.

Objective 3: Update Twitter author page.

• Utilize hashtags.

• Post three times a week.

Objective 4: Update Google+

• Post at least 3 times a week.

Objective 5: Update Pinterest.

• Add a photo album for each published book.

• Add a picture to each album at least once a week.

Objective 6: Update website.

• Keep information up-to-date.

• Act upon constructive feedback.

• Create a contest for each book.




Assimilate into Curiosity Quills Press.

Objective 1: Build a strong professional relationship with Curiosity Quills Press.

• Communicate regularly with the Curiosity Quills team whenever I have questions, comments, or concerns.

• Organize joint book signings.

• Attend conferences.

• Offer support to fellow authors as needed.

Objective 2: Enhance my relationship with my literary agent.

• Discuss anthology and magazine opportunities.

• Discuss future novels.

Objective 3: Compile a new anthology.

• Work with readers and authors to see what anthology they would like.


Personal Development


Objective 1: Write two new novels in 2015.

• Write a new story based on a new idea.

• Write a new installment in the Treasure Chronicles series.

Objective 2: Publish short stories in anthologies.

• Continue to submit to Horrified Press anthologies.

Objective 3: Broaden my knowledge of writing through volunteer options.

Objective 4: Establish a strong network among my readers and peers.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I received a copy of HIT by Lorie Ann Grover from Blink via BookSneeze.  This book blew me away.  It is gripping from first page to last, and the writing style is fast, crisp, and addictive.  It is the type of novel you can read cover to cover in one sitting.  In fact, I recommend you do, otherwise you won’t be able to stop thinking about the characters.

People’s lives change in one second.  That is the main theme of the story, or so I took away.  Another theme involves student-teacher relationships.  I found it intriguing, since I taught at a college for a short time.  Nothing like this ever happened to me, but I found a pulling toward Mr. Haddings, the poetry professor.  There is so much emotion within the chapters.  Sometimes I cried, other times I shuddered.  This is a book geared toward young adults, and the writing reflected that, but in a good way. 

Sarah declares her feelings for her teacher in her poetry journal.  Then, one rainy day, the teacher hits Sarah with his car.  The book focuses on three days, and you get to experience the emotions of the people surrounding Sarah after the accident. 

HIT is another book I highly recommend.  

Keepers of the Covenant

I received a copy of KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT by Lynn Austin from Bethany House.  It is part of a series known as The Restoration Chronicles.  This one is book two.  I hadn’t read book one, and I did not feel lost while reading this novel.  I will have to look for the first installment next.

Whenever I see a book published by Bethany House, I know it will be top-notch quality.  KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT was no exception.  Sadly, it took me longer to review than normal, but that was due to outside forces.  I have read other books by Lynn Austin, so I knew in advance this would be filled with action, dynamic family elements, and believable characters.  FIRE BY NIGHT is my favorite of her novels, although KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT now comes close.

KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT involves a decree given by the king that all Jewish men, woman, and children be put to death in a year.  It will occur on the thirteen day of Adar.  Although I read a lot of historical fiction, this was the first novel I had read about this specific topic.  I highly recommend this piece of Biblical fiction.  It earns five stars from me.  

Wisdom of the Sadhu

I received a copy of WISDOM OF SADHU: TEACHINGS OF SUNDAR SINGH from Plough. The book is compiled and edited by Kim Comer. 

What a fascinating read.  I hadn’t known about Sundar Singh before, but after reading this, I know I will need to seek out more reference information.  The book does an excellent job of explaining how Sundar Singh thought, as well as many of his actions.  I especially enjoyed how it looked at Christianity without being overly preachy.  The book is written with grace, understanding, and knowledge, and that equals power, in the sense of drawing people closer to Christ in a smooth transition. 

I also found the referenced to culture in India enlightening.  I greatly learning about other cultures, and having Christianity as an undertone made it even better.  I highly recommend this book.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Altar of Reality

Today is the cover reveal for Altar of Reality, the first book from Shifted Realities--a brand new series by Mara Valderran. This YA dystopian is set to be released January 31st, 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press. Mark your calendars, and be sure to add the book to your Goodreads list! Want to stay up to date on all things Altar of RealitySign up for Mara's newsletter so you don't miss a thing!

And now...the moment Mara's we've all been waiting for...

When sixteen-year-old Madeline suffers her first grand mal seizure, she finds herself in an unfamiliar reality, surrounded by strangers wearing familiar faces. Her best friend, Brandon, tells her that the world has fallen to chaos, the aftermath of World War III ten years ago. Madeline doesn’t remember anything from this life— especially not the explosion four years ago that killed her parents and landed her in a coma, or the Lord Commander; a zealot leader of the Southern Territories now searching for her.

Madeline barely has time to process everything before waking up to the life she’s always known. As soon as she dismisses it all as a strange and vivid dream, she finds herself back there once more. Unsure if she’s truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion, or teetering on the brink of insanity, she finds herself flipping between the two lives. Her heart becomes torn between two versions of the same boy and the lines between her realities begin to blur as she struggles to save her lives in both worlds.


Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

Find Mara Online: 

Be sure to check out the Heirs of War, Crown of Flames blog tour going on right now! There are excerpts, interviews, a giveaway, and more. You can find the tour calendar here.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Release Blitz: Tangled Roots by Rebekkah Ford


After eighteen-year-old Carrie Jacobson discovers she was a witch in a previous life, she seeks to reawaken the past part of her soul. With the help of an eccentric enchantress and a boy who is more than he seems, Carrie succeeds and is spellbound by the memories of her life in the 1600s. She reverts to her bewitching, more volatile form and sets out to break a curse she cast long ago. If she succeeds, she’ll unleash a powerful force, the likes of which has not been witnessed in centuries.

Carrie’s boyfriend Jack (A.K.A. Tree) cannot help feeling unease about the changes he sees in the woman he loves. When Carrie’s past clashes with the present and dark magic intoxicates her once again, Tree must take drastic matters into his own hands and attempt to save Carrie from herself.

With Tree’s help, will Carrie be able to resist the allure of her new powers? Or will she plunge into the deep end and give into them?


Amazon AUS:


About this author

Rebekkah Ford grew up in a family that dealt with the paranormal. Her parents’ Charles and Geri Wilhelm were the directors of the UFO Investigator's League in Fairfield, Ohio, back in the 1970s. They also investigated ghost hauntings and Bigfoot sightings in addition to UFO’s. Growing up in this type of environment and having the passion for writing is what drove Rebekkah at an early age to write stories dealing with the paranormal. At one point in her life, she thought she wanted to be a journalist, and although she enjoyed writing articles, she quickly discovered her real passion was writing fiction. Her fascination with the paranormal is what led her to write the ‘Beyond the Eyes’ trilogy and soon to be released new adult urban fantasy, Tangled Roots. 

Visit her online and read her blog at

 Goodreads Giveaway:

A signed copy of Tangled Roots with some cool swag to go along with it.

Hosted By Obsessive Pimpette Promotions

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gears of Brass

Gear up for GEARS OF BRASS! 

A world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device.  

Within this tome, you’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings, as well as original stories that will send your gears turning.  

Welcome to the steampunk realm, with eleven authors guiding your path. 

GEARS OF BRASS is a steampunk anthology published through Curiosity Quills.  It will be available for purchase on November 10, 2014.  Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings.  Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets. 

Meet the authors:

Jordan Elizabeth writes young adult fantasy for Curiosity Quills, including ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW which was published in October and the upcoming TREASURE DARKLY; she’s represented by the Belcastro Agency.

J. Million is the author of Last of the Giants and can always be found reading or writing.

Lorna MacDonald Czarnota is a professional storyteller and author of several books including, Medieval Tales That Kids Can Read and Tell, Breadline Blue, Legends Lore and Secrets of Western New York, Wicked Niagara, Native American and Pioneer Sites of Upstate New York, and Dancing at the Crossroads: Stories and Activities for At-Risk Youth Programming.

SA Larsen is represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary and is the author of published short stories, community-interest stories, and magazine articles focused on children. 

Grant Eagar is an Engineer who would take the tales he told his children at bed time, and transform them into fantasy stories. 

Clare Weze is the author of The House of Ash (forthcoming) and the co-author and editor of Cloudscapes over the Lune.

Eliza Tilton: gamer, writer and lover of dark chocolate; author of the YA Fantasy, BROKEN FOREST, published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Heather Talty's stories have been featured in Enchanted Conversation, as well as her own fractured fairy tale site, Mythopoetical (

W.K. Pomeroy is a third generation writer who has published more than 70 short stories/articles/poems across many genres and styles, which now includes Steampunk.

Christine Baker is the author of Lana's End, The Guild of Dagda, and many more. 

Natalia Darcy: a bookilicious reader, tea drinker and Zumba aficionado who enjoys playing cards against humanity and washing her hair with ice cold water. 

You can get your steampunk fix before GEARS OF BRASS is released in November.  To enter for your chance to win a copy of GEARS OF BRASS, you will need to share the cover.  This can be on your blog, Facebook, Twitter… Each time you share the cover image, log it into Rafflecoper (#insert link) to record it.  It will give you more chances to win.  The drawing for the winner will be held on October 27th

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I received a copy of NOAH: A WORDLESS PICTURE BOOK by Mark Ludy from Plough. Yes, it is exactly what you think – a wordless picture book has no words.  I have my degree in elementary education, and I have seen one of these before.  The kids loved it.  Each one could make up a different story, and oftentimes the story had nothing to do with the theme of the book. 

The pictures are amazingly detailed and bright.  They should captivate most children.  The images for Noah reminded me of the Disney movie Hercules

The only thing that caught me was that at the front, there is a picture of a man holding a baby.  It includes the only words in the picture book: “Methuselah welcomes his grandson, Noah…”  As I continued with the book, I was assuming the man in the pictures was Methuselah, and it wasn’t until the artwork showed the ark being built did I realize it was actually Noah. 

Overall, I recommend this wordless picture book for kids.  It was elicit hours of exercise for the imagination.  You don’t have to just make up the story about the main characters.  You could make up what the camel is thinking too.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Forever Christmas

I received a copy of FOREVER CHRISTMAS by Robert Tate Miller from BookSneeze.  I chose it because, well for one things, Christmas is coming, but I also felt like an uplifting story after a few heavy-hitters I’ve read lately.  It also seemed like an escape from the stresses of everyday life.  Oh yeah, it is also about a literary agent.  I have a literary agent, and it was cool to take a look inside the life of one.  FOREVER CHRISTMAS did not fail to meet all of my expectations.

Andrew, the main character, is a literary agent.  He is stressed and busy, but then a Christmas Eve accident causes him to take a new look on life.  Yes, this story line might sound a bit classic, but Robert Tate Miller writes with freshness.  The characters are not only believable, but also emotionally jarring.  By the end of the book, I wanted more.  Beth especially struck me as being similar to many people I know in real life.

I highly recommend this to people seeking an escape from a busy life or anyone who loves Christmas stories.  The book is short, at only 183 pages, so it flies by.  I’m passing it on to a friend who I know loves Christmastime.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Their Name is Today

I received a copy of THEIR NAME IS TODAY: RECLAIMING CHILDHOOD IN A HOSTILE WORLD by Johann Cristoph Arnold from Plough.  The foreword is by Mark K. Shriver.  I read this with a background in childhood education, and much of it rang true with what I learned in college and what I saw working in local public elementary schools. 

In a nutshell, the book covers how society views and treats children.  He does this by analyzing education and parenting.  I liked how he stressed giving children personal attention.  My parents doted on me growing up, and while I don’t feel spoiled, I do feel loved.  I feel comfortable asking them questions, showing my strengths and weaknesses, and trusting their guidance.  I’ve seen other children who are neglected or scolded, and I see them suffering through relationships.

I am definitely passing this on to educator friends.

As a bonus, I realized that Johann Christoph Arnold lives in Upstate New York like me.  I may contact him at some point to see if he would like to speak at the Utica Writers Club.  

Burn Baby Burn Baby

Curiosity Quills is excited to reveal the cover for contemporary, young-adult Burn Baby Burn Baby, by Kevin Craig, which is due for release December 11, 2014. The cover was designed by CQ managing partner Eugene Teplitsky. Burn Baby Burn 1000About Burn Baby Burn Baby: Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby. The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end. Add Burn Baby Burn Baby to your Goodreads 'to-be-read' list. -- Kevin Craig - Author picAbout The Author: Kevin Craig is the author of three previous novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, and The Reasons. He is a 4-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. Kevin is also a playwright and has had eight 10-minute plays produced. His poetry, short stories, memoir and articles have been published internationally. Kevin was a founding member of the Ontario Writers’ Conference and a long-time member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He is represented by literary agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group. Find Kevin Craig Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads Preorder