The Wayward Playlist

The Wayward, author Tabitha Caplinger’s most recent book, is a new adult dystopian novel that I will forever recommend to adult readers! The Wayward releases February 7. If you are looking for a story that will stay with you long after you turn the final page, then you need to get yourself (and a friend) a copy. To celebrate this upcoming books, Tab is sharing The Wayward Playlist with us today!

What is The Wayward About?

A bird's eye view of the book, The Wayward, on a table with eggs and cupcakes.

Wilder James has spent her entire life in Beartooth, secluded from the Necanians and their domed cities where most of humanity resides. Content to keep her distance within the confines of her rustic community, she desires nothing more than to live out her years with her husband, Declan, in their simple mountain home.

But when an unexpected tragedy rips apart her dreams, and intruders pull her from the safety of her camp and into a dark reality, she discovers the shocking truth. The Necanians are not bringers of peace. They’re harbingers of death.

Now Wilder must decide if she will protect only herself and her people, or risk everything to try to free all of humanity. She is armed with the one thing her people have always had – faith. Will it be enough?

Why Do I Recommend The Wayward?

This novel does a beautiful job delving into the dichotomies of hope and despair. It illustrates a real-life struggle with having faith when overcome with grief. The Wayward reminds us to trust in God always; even when all we think we see is darkness, the light is still there. To read more of my thoughts and see my full review of The Wayward, please click here.

The Wayward Book Playlist

Do you love it when you watch a movie and the soundtrack is *chef’s kiss*? I often wish books, too, had a playlist. So, when an author creates a playlist for their novel, I nerd out a bit. Tabitha has a playlist for The Wayward that she is sharing with us today!

Whenever I start a new project, one of the first things I do is curate a playlist. Not only does it help set the vibe for a project, it’s something I’ll use while plotting and writing to keep me in the right headspace for a story. The Wayward playlist may be my favorite yet. Its mix of sad, folksy love songs strikes all the right heartstrings for this mountain core dystopian.

Tabitha Caplinger

The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger

Listen to The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger on Apple Music. Stream songs including “Honey Leave the Light On”, “Colder Weather” and more.

Click on the image above to see the playlist! If you have Apple Music, you will be able to listen. However, if you do not have Apple Music, you will still be able to see the songs and artists on the playlist (and listen to a preview)!

Stay Connected with Tabitha Caplinger

In case you didn’t know, Tabitha is one of my all-time favorite authors. She has a unique talent for writing stories that speak to your heart, and the love of God shines through the pages of her books. To learn more about her book The Wolf Queen, the first book of Tab’s that I read, check out my blog post featuring it here.

Graphic of Tabitha Caplinger, author of The Wayward and creator of The Wayward Playlist, holding stack of books. Text includes a quote and social links.

Because release day is February 7, there are only a few days left to get your pre-order of The Wayward in. You can do that with Page 158 Books here!

Stay Connected with The Unicorn Writer

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Thank you for being a Book Unicorn and reading today’s post!

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Author Interview: Jenny Knipfer

Submitted logo from author Jenny Knipfer. Gold circle on green background. White text.

It’s time for the first author interview of the year! I am so excited for you all to meet today’s special guest, Jenny Knipfer. Living in Wisconsin, Jenny Knipfer is an author of multiple books, and her stories center around themes of encouragement and inspiration. She is a sweet, supportive, and authentic soul who describes herself as creative, introverted, and encouraging. It is truly a blessing to have her on the blog today!

When asked what she likes to do, Jenny stated, “I am a very artistic person and have had many pursuits over the years: gardening, crafting, painting, drawing, sewing, quilting, jewelry making, reading, writing, and more, but I’ve had to give up most of those pursuits because of my MS. I no longer have the strength and dexterity in my hands to do them. I can still do machine sewing with some adaptations, and of course I can still write, but I have had to adapt how I do that as well. I primarily do dictation these days.”

Keep reading to learn more about Jenny!

Q) How long have you been writing?

A) I’ve been writing since middle school, mostly short stories and journaling then. In college I also started to write poetry. In my early thirties, I drafted my first fiction novel but set it aside when life got busy with work and family. Around that time, I started a blog in which I shared poetry that I had written and my random thoughts.
When I had to retire from my job as a floral designer in 2018 due to increasing disability from multiple sclerosis, I decided to resurrect the novel I had started years prior from an old computer file, and even with disability in my hands, I completed it. I have since gone on to write 11 more titles.

Author Jenny Knipfer smiles while holding one of her books outside.

Q) Why do you write?

A) For many years, I wrote mostly just to get my thoughts out. It was a release in a form of therapy and also a way in which God spoke to me. I was always brutally honest in my journaling, but by the time I got to the end of myself on paper, God would shine the light in those hurting spots and healing would begin.

In more recent years, I have used my writing in similar fashion, but also because it has given me something positive to focus on besides my poor health. There is very little I am able to do these days, and this is one outlet in which I can still be creative.

“I cannot write a book without weaving my faith into it. It’s who I am as a writer.”

Jenny Knipfer

Q) What are three of your favorite books and why?

A) Anne of Green Gables is the book that ignited my fire to become a writer. I wanted to be Anne Shirley. The Chronicles of Narnia series fed my imagination and will always remain among my favorite books. Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite book. I think it has a little bit of everything, romance, mystery, intrigue, moral dilemmas, and the kind of detail and character development that I enjoy.

Jenny’s Published Books

Q) Can you tell readers about what books/stories you have currently available?

A) Currently, I have three different historical fiction series available.

My By the Light of the Moon series is set around Lake Superior in the late 1890s through the 1920s and deals with various topics: accidental death, living with MS and the division of twin siblings, WWI, and the plight of First Nation Peoples in Quebec.

Graphic including a photo of a coastline. A lighthouse and a full moon can be seen. The four books of Jenny Knipfer's By the Light of the Moon and the author's logo are at the front of the graphic.

Titles in the series are:

  • Ruby Moon— A tale of grief, guilt, and redemption, set on the shores of Lake Superior
  • Blue Moon— A tale of true things, more rare than a blue moon
  • Silver Moon— A World War I tale of courage and hope in the darkest of times
  • Harvest Moon— A tale of finding grace and blessing amongst life’s hardships

In my Sheltering Trees Series, set in the late 1890s through the 1980s, I write about marital discord, grief, Alzheimer’s, depression, living with scars, second chances, family strife, and forgiveness.

Titles in the series are:

  • In a Grove of Maples— A historical novel of the perils of newlywed life, and all that comes to divide lovers (inspired by my grandparents)
  • Under the Weeping Willow— A historical novel of a mother and daughter, and the secret shipping their rocky relationship
  • On Bur Oak Ridge— A historical novel of finding healing and a second chance at love
  • By Broken Birch Bay— A historical mystery of family, romance, and hidden deception
A graphic for the Sheltering Trees Series by Jenny Knipfer. Each of the four covers features a woman in a different outdoor setting.

My Botanical Seasons novella series currently has two titles, but I am perhaps planning on two more. Current titles are:

  • Holly’s Homecoming, set in the late 1890s, is a Christmastime story of restoration with a hint of romance.
  • Violet’s Vow, set in the same time period, is a springtime story about a secret love and a passionate vow.

And of course, in all of my books, there’s a thread of romance, mystery, and faith.

Jenny’s Future Projects

My future book projects are a Retold Fairy Tale series in the Christian fantasy genre. I will release the first title this spring. I also am spearheading a multi, indie author series, Apron Strings, that our group will publish throughout 2024, one title each month. One cookbook connects all of the books in some way. The individual stories span from the 1920s to the 2020s. This series is women’s fiction. My title is Priscilla and is set in the late 1940s after World War II.

Q) You have a new book, The Regal Pink, releasing this year. Can you tell readers about it?

A) Yes, as of right now I am striving for a release date of around Mother’s Day of this year, 2023. Although the book has magic and a classic fairytale feel, it is very much a book about a mother seeking her son and identity. There is both romance for the young and the young at heart and clear lines of good and evil.

The description: A young man who can grant wishes. A fairy hoping for her wings. A king and queen seeking an heir.

Far, far away, in the fairy tale kingdom of Evermoor, young, gifted Daniel dreams of escaping his life in captivity and his dastardly Uncle Aldrich. Diana, a flower fairy charged with guiding Daniel, helps him channel his ability to grant wishes, but his uncle exploits Daniel’s gift, stealing the wishes for himself.

Warned not to fall prey to mortal love, Diana keeps a friendly distance from Daniel, but she cannot deny her growing feelings for him. Will she shield her heart or risk losing the chance to ever go back home to the Green Glade and gain her fairy wings?

In the same kingdom, childless King Roderick and Queen Rosalind have become divided by a great sorrow. Battling the wounds of the past, the monarchs make a valiant effort to move forward, but can they learn to trust each other again? What future can the kingdom have without an heir?

Readers of fantasy, Christian fantasy, clean romance, and YA fantasy will be enraptured with this gripping tale of overcoming the past and embracing hope, layered with romance for both the young and the young at heart.


“Knipfer has created a well-constructed story with all the elements of a classic fairy tale: a royal family, a lost prince, magical creatures, and determined villains.”

— Readers’ Favorite, five-star review

More About Jenny

Q) How would you describe your writing style?

A) Poetic, atmospheric, faith-based, dramatic, emotional, hopeful

Q) What song would be your life’s theme song?

A) My favorite hymn is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I can do nothing without Him, and He has been my friend pretty much as far back as I can remember.

Every night I go to sleep, praying and imagining where I am with the Lord at that moment. That image has varied so many times throughout my life, in spiritual valleys, plains, and hilltops.

Sometimes He shelters me, sometimes we walk hand-in-hand, sometimes He is before me, or behind me, or even laughing with me. I am thankful that He is my savior, my Lord, and so many, many things to me, but I am so very thankful that He is my friend.

Q) Who is someone that inspires you?

A) Much of my writing inspiration has come from past authors and poets like LM Montgomery, Madeline L’Engle, CS Lewis, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and my favorite author Charlotte Brontë. Recent inspiration has come from many of my author friends that I have connected with online. They are a constant source of encouragement.

Q) Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

  • Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I am thankful that God can work good through anything, even the ashes of heartbreak and disease.
  • Hebrews 11:1, which I have in large vinyl print on my kitchen wall. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This verse is a constant reminder to me that there is more to life than what we can see, and that there is a solidity to hope, which all of us need. But more than that, I see hope as the spark for faith, which fulfills that hope, in the unseen but real spiritual realm.

Q) Do you have an interesting fact about yourself you would like to share?

A) Music has been a big part of my life since I was a small child. My father was very musical and could play almost any instrument by ear. I both played the piano and sang and often sang in church services, weddings, and funerals.

About 13 years ago I recorded a CD of all original songs. I had planned on doing more with my music, but my health declined shortly after that. Fast forward a few years, and I was diagnosed with MS. Around that time, I also had gone through a thyroidectomy to remove a large, lime sized goiter from my thyroid, pressing against my esophagus.

The surgery damaged my vocal cords, and after, I had to go to speech therapy to be able to even talk normally again without feeling like I was being choked to death. My singing voice was pretty much destroyed after that. And then by that time my fingers were starting to be affected by MS, with pain and lack of dexterity, so playing the piano gradually faded out of my life as well.

But that old saying is true; when God closes a window, he opens a door.

Jenny’s Advice to Authors

Q) What advice would you offer aspiring authors?

A) I started out not knowing enough about the business of being an author. Learn everything you can about writing fiction. It is one thing to write a book, but it is altogether another to market, publish, and get it out into the world.

Another huge piece, I believe, is networking. Find your readers, connect with other like-minded authors and those in your same genres. The philosophy of “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” goes an incredibly long way. Think of being an author not as being in competition with other authors but as traveling the same road together.

Q) What else would you like to share with readers today?

A) I would also like readers to know that a lot of my stories have been fueled by personal experience. The books that have been the most real to me as I’ve written them have been the ones that I have put the most of myself in. I never set forth to write just a well-written story but one with substance and one that will instill hope into readers, and might help them along their particular path. My tagline—writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy.

Connect with Jenny Knipfer!

Learn more about Jenny Knipfer through her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She also has a Facebook group, and a newsletter.

Which one of Jenny’s books are you most excited to read? I will be sharing my review of The Regal Pink closer to its release date this year. I also cannot wait to dive into her other works starting with The Sheltering Trees series!

More from The Unicorn Writer

Remember to follow for more content from The Unicorn Writer! You can browse the post archive to learn more. Click here to access a previous blog post. I’m also trying to do more with my author newsletter. If you are interested in periodic emailed updates from The Unicorn Writer, Kayla E. Green, you can subscribe below.

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Book Review: The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger

Last November, I shared a book spotlight for an upcoming release entitled The Wayward by one of my all-time favorite authors, Tabitha Caplinger. In 2021, I read Tab’s The Wolf Queen, a Young Adult Nordic fantasy laced with the foundational truth that light always prevails over darkness (read my full review of The Wolf Queen here). Though The Wayward is a New Adult dystopian, a different genre than The Wolf Queen, I jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy, and I have finally turned the last page.

The verdict, ladies and gentlemen? Tab has done it again. She’s scribed a narrative rooted in truth, centered around raw, real, and relatable characters, that makes the reader feel.

The Wayward shifts from various characters, but Wilder James is the primary protagonist. She lives a simple, secluded life in her mountain home and that’s all she wants. However, a tragic event flips her world upside down and Wilder is faced with a choice. Will she protect only herself and her people? Or will she work to free all of humanity from the Necanians who are heralded as “Bringers of Peace”?

Yes, The Wayward is a dystopian tale set in a world where an alien race comes to earth, promising freedom and peace to the desperate human race. But it’s so much more. I would argue that, above all, it’s really a love story. Not a dozen roses, plush teddy bears, and cheesy movie-esque love story, but an intricate tale of real, unconditional, redeemable, exposed love.

“I would argue that, above all, it’s really a love story. Not a ot a dozen roses, plush teddy bears, and cheesy movie-esque love story, but an intricate tale of real, unconditional, redeemable, exposed love.”

The love between Wilder and Declan is tangible, and the love between the people of the Beartooth community is honorable. But the most powerful love depicted? That’s the love that fosters faith and a drive to find Goodness even in the midst of grief and pain, the love that ensures redemption and offers a soulful, true life of living — the love that can only come from God — is elegantly woven in this beautiful prose which is sure to move any heart.

Who Would Like This Book?

I do agree with the New Adult target audience for The Wayward. In addition to the age of the main characters, the story does contain some violence. The truth about the Necanians and their plans is jarring. Also, infertility plays a role in the novel. I believe this topic will be more appreciated by a New Adult/Adult reader. Note that the plot is more character-driven instead of action-oriented. I think this important to mention because some readers have a plot-type preference.

Final Thoughts

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND The Wayward for New Adult/Adult readers, and I confidently give it 5-stars! Not only is this a story about love and faith, the character-focused plot will help readers heal in ways they didn’t know a work of fiction could facilitate. Fall into the world of The Wayward and between the dichotomy of pain and healing, hope and despair, & light and dark, and find assurance that you are stronger than you know. Our hearts and souls are resilient, and through stubborn faith and perseverance, love will conquer.

Pre-Order Your Copy Before Release Day!

The Wayward releases into the wild on February 7, 2023! Pre-orders are still open. Everyone who preorders through Page 158 books will receive an email with digital goodies. PLUS the first 100 who preorder through Page 158 will also receive some extras! Pictured to the left: a bookmark, recipe card, character art, and a signed bookplate.

Some of my Favorite Quotes from The Wayward

  • “The problem is people die, love doesn’t.”
  • “Fear was the enemy, and they would not kneel to it.”
  • “This wasn’t about being unbroken… [Redacted] would never be the same, but there could be beauty in her healed brokenness.”
  • “’I didn’t…I don’t have the power…’ ‘You had the power to try.'”
  • “He inhaled her lilac scent and exhaled hope.”
  • “Do you trust Him because things feel good or because He is good, even when you don’t feel it?”
  • “You may feel fractured right now; I get that and it’s okay to feel it, but you aren’t finished yet. Far from it.”
  • “‘They took my soul…’ ‘Then you can have part of mine.'”
  • “Hopefully the snow continued to fall until it blanketed the whole of her world and covered her soul, just as serene and fresh as the winter tide.”
  • “Humanity was being given a choice at real freedom—soul-deep freedom—the kind that wasn’t about getting what you wanted, but of serving others.”

Follow Author Tabitha Caplinger!

Happy New Year Book Unicorns!

Happy New Year book unicorns!

I hope your January is off to a blessed start so far, and your goal list is filled with great books to read! If you aren’t sure what to read next, and you enjoy young adult fantasy, then take the online quiz below to help find your next favorite book!

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Aivan: The One Truth, a YA fantasy novella with stories rooted in the Old Testament.

My last 2021 post was a reflection, and my first post of 2022 was an outline of goals and what I hoped to achieve in the coming year. Due to life circumstances, including unforeseen health complications, I was not able to maintain my planned blog post in 2022 which means I did not share my year’s reflection in December; however, everything has taught me the importance and power of grace. I am starting 2023 with a clear intention to offer myself grace in all my endeavors. I hope you, too, holdfast to grace in the new year.

Reflection of 2022 Goals and Author Journey

The year 2022 was an exciting year for me in a lot of ways! I didn’t hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal, but I did read 10 amazing books. I didn’t hit all of my writing goals, but I can see real growth in my narrative skills. I am not where I thought I would be in terms of health, but times of darkness has allowed me to seek out the light.

Below I have created a list of key highlights that I want to remember moving forward. Remember, these are simply highlights and they do not show the struggles of imposter syndrome, countless rejections, mental health and physical health battles, and other challenges that are inevitable in life. But in sharing some of my year’s highlights, I hope to encourage you to reflect on positive moments and relish in gratitude.

In 2022…

  • I joined the wonderful community of Havok Publishing with my flash fiction pieces “The Once-Stars” and “The Great Blue-Bellied Jelly.” The former was even narrated on the Havok podcast by the talented Magnus Carlssen and anyone can listen to it here!
  • I started a new job as a school librarian. Fostering a passion for reading in young children is a dream come true!
  • My debut Young Adult Christian fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, was published through Ambassador International in July. It is now available through your favorite book retailers!
  • I was semi-finalist in the James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition.
  • I had poems and short stories appear in 5 different anthologies and I had two articles published through Calla Press online.
  • Aivan: The One Truth received a Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Review!
  • My story “Beautiful Wasteland” won the Science Fiction category in Clean Fiction Magazine’s Windows Into the Multiverse Writing Contest Winter 2022.
  • I signed TWO new book contracts for upcoming projects. More information to be shared soon!

Like I said, this is merely a highlight reel. I’m choosing to focus on the light and positive and fill my soul with gratitude for all the opportunities God has provided! I am not minimizing or pretending the pain, loss, and hurt 2022 dealt is nonexistent; rather, I’m simply choosing to sit with that darkness at another time.

Purple text shares the Bible verse Psalm 147:3-4, NIV version. The background is a pinkish purple gradient and there are 6 purple hearts surrounding the text.

A large part of 2022 was spent feeling regret and lost, but events unfolded to show me that God does heal the brokenhearted. God has granted me specific gifts in which I can use to serve others. The past year really showed my heart what matters most. And what is that? Check out my article delving deeper into the topic here on Calla Press.

What’s Next?

As I said, I am focusing on grace this year. But that does not mean I don’t have goals that I’ll be working toward! I will still be reading books when I can, and sharing reviews here on the blog. This year, I plan to read whatever my heart calls to which will probably be mostly middle grade and young adult clean fantasy and science fiction with some children’s books as well (I’ll be reading for and with my kiddos at school)! I also hope to share things I’m working on and learning, and I’m considering doing a bi-monthly writing advice post. Is there a specific topic you would like me to address? Feel free to drop a comment below (Please note your comment may take a bit to post as I have to approve it to verify it isn’t spam)!

Wrapped in the warm safety of grace, this year I am aiming to…

  • Complete manuscript for Book Contract Number 1 (by mid-February) and submit to publisher.
  • Complete manuscript for Book Contract Number 2 (by mid-April) and submit to publisher.
  • Complete current Writing in Progress (a medieval young adult fantasy) and send to my editor (preferably before summer’s end) and then work on querying.
  • Continue to write flash fiction and submit to Havok Publishing.
    • In fact, my first two Havok stories of 2023 have already appeared! On January 3, my sci-fi piece “Firefight in Cuzco” was published, and on January 11, my comedy piece “The End of the World?” was published! “The End of the World?” is especially dear to my heart as the protagonist Huey and his best friend Tema have a lot more adventures, and great banter and puns, to share with readers this year. I highly recommend joining Havok as a reader to access these and the other fantastic stories in the archive.
  • Continue seeking out publishing opportunities and contests for my stories and poetry.
  • Cherish every moment, make countless memories with family and friends, and live in the “now.”
  • Continue to foster my relationship with God and write the stories he places on my heart.
The Bible verse Isaiah 41:10, NIV version appears in the center of white rectangle in dark green lettering. To the left and right of text are dark green leaves.

Thank You

Thank you for reading! And again, Happy New Year book unicorns! I pray that the days ahead provide healing, peace, fulfillment for you and yours, and, of course, grace.

Book Spotlight: The Wayward by Tabitha Caplinger

Last December, I was fortunate enough to discover and read the book The Wolf Queen by Tabitha Caplinger. *warning: I am about to fan-girl a little*

The Wolf Queen was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, and it steadfastly holds a spot in my top ten all time favorite books. The characters and the messages stayed with me long after I turned the final page and, as an author myself, it gave me inspiration tenfold. I hope to beautifully weave poignant messages in a captivating story with relatable characters in a manner that brings readers closer to God in my writings like Tabitha does; she uses her gift to share God’s light through her writing. She is talented, kind, and I admire her so much. *end fan-girling…kind of*

Now, Tabitha has a NEW BOOK releasing February 7, 2023 with Blue Ink Press: The Wayward! *jumping up and down with excitement*

The Wayward is not a YA fantasy like The Wolf Queen. It is classified as a YA/NA clean dystopian; however, I have no doubt that Tabitha has created another beautiful book. I cannot wait to read it!

What is The Wayward About?

Wilder James has spent her entire life in Beartooth, secluded from the Necanians and their domed cities where most of humanity resides. Content to keep her distance within the confines of her rustic community, she desires nothing more than to live out her years with her husband, Declan, in their simple mountain home.

But when an unexpected tragedy rips apart her dreams, and intruders pull her from the safety of her camp and into a dark reality, she discovers the shocking truth. The Necanians are not bringers of peace. They’re harbingers of death.

Now Wilder must decide if she will protect only herself and her people, or risk everything to try to free all of humanity. She is armed with the one thing her people have always had – faith. Will it be enough?

Faith and The Wayward

“Faith is a funny thing because it requires trusting in something bigger when you can’t see the light. It means believing in Goodness even when you don’t feel it. It is remaining steadfast even when you don’t understand why or how. Faith often isn’t just something we have or choose but something we wrestle with. In The Wayward we find characters wrestling with faith because they are trying to reconcile their grief and suffering with Goodness and having to trust when they have no clue of the outcome.”

Title Track

Who Will Love This Book?

I asked Tabitha who would enjoy this book. She said, “On the surface, it’s a clean dystopian so I think if you like that you will find a story to enjoy. But I think readers who love a story with flawed and vulnerable characters that contrasts light and dark, hope and despair, grief and joy will connect to The Wayward. Also, there are aliens.”

What Others Are Saying About The Wayward

“Caplinger creates a gripping and intense story in her upcoming novel, The Wayward. As we follow Wilder through her loss and grief, beautiful depictions of perseverance, faith and true love are portrayed through elegant prose. It is through this riveting story we learn how valuable the strength of one’s heart and soul can truly be.”

– V. Romas Burton, Author of the award-winning Heartmender Series


Meet the Author

How To Pre-Order

The Wayward will be available for preorder soon! If you would like early access and first chance to claim the limited preorder goodies, please fill out this form and you will be the first to know when preorders are open!

I am lucky enough to be an ARC reader, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on The Wayward with you in an upcoming blog post!

Bookish Shop Feature: Book Nook Sleeves

Chances are if you follow my blog, you are an avid reader. If you’re like me, then you typically don’t go anywhere without a book. How do you keep your physical books safe and secure while out and about?

Y’all, when I first discovered book sleeves and Book Nook Sleeves (BNS), it was a game changer! Heather, owner of BNS, has a multitude of book sleeve options perfect for different sized books (and the sleeves can be used for other things, too – I use a mini sleeve for my glasses at night). AND book sleeves aren’t all BNS offers! To learn more about this awesome small business that both book-lovers and writers will love, check out my interview with Heather below!

Q) What inspired you to start Book Nook Sleeves?

A) I’ve always loved creating things and when I discovered book sleeves, I thought I’d make a few for myself to use. I enjoyed making them so much that I decided to start creating them for others and it took off from there.

Q) Can you tell readers about your current products available?

A) We currently offer several different products, but our most popular are: book sleeves, mug rugs, corner bookmarks, and pin hoops.

Q) If a reader would like to place a custom order, how can they do that?

A) We love custom orders! To discus custom options, please message us on Etsy.

Q) If you could speak to your younger self what advice would you give her?

A) Never give up! There are things to learn about both good and bad experiences.

Q) What is your most recent 5 star read and why did you give it 5 stars?

A) My last 5 star read was Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. It really tugged on my heart strings!

Q) Tell us about your star employee, Lucy.

A) Lucy is our doxie that we adopted about four years ago. We don’t have kids, so she is VERY spoiled! She is never far from me while I’m sewing, prepping materials, and packing orders… although you can usually find her sleeping. She snores SO loud! lol

Q) What do you like to do in your spare time?

A) Besides reading, I enjoy traveling with my husband, Dan, spending time with friends and family, baking tasty treats, and snuggling on the couch with Lucy.

Q) Who is someone, real or fictional, that inspires you and why?

A) My mom inspires me. She is always there when I need someone to talk to and has taught me so much over the years.

Q) Can you give us some hints or sneak peeks for any new themes or products BNS will have in the new year?

A) I have several exciting things planned in 2023 for BNS. I had originally planned them for this year, but postponed them when we decided to switch all of our book sleeves over to our new foam style. There will be new items for pin collectors, readers who love big books, and some book sleeves that will be unique to our shop!

Q) Is there anything else you would like to add? 

A) Keep an eye on our social media pages!  We are working with several authors to create exclusive items for special edition boxes that we can’t wait to share with all of you.

Follow BNS on social media! And, when you place an order, remember to use code UNICORN10 for a discount! 🙂

Happy Release Day to The Depths of Atlantis!

Yay, The Depths of Atlantis by Hannah Carter releases TODAY!

*balloons drop from the ceiling, a marching band plays, and Taylor Swift sings ‘Celebration’ (Taylor’s Version, obvs.)*

Thank you everyone who has joined us in the blog party celebrating Hannah and her wonderful characters! I hope you have had as much fun as I have, and I hope, if you didn’t already pre-order, you order a copy for yourself today from Amazon or SnowRidge Press AND request a copy at your local library!

I sincerely believe in this story, and I know other readers will be touched by the characters and their journey just like I was. The Depths of Atlantis is a phenomenal YA fantasy book, hooking readers in the first chapter and keeping them yearning to know what happens next.

Connect with Hannah Carter through her:

Missed one of the blog party’s daily posts? Here is a quick recap:

The Depths of Atlantis Book Playlist

The Depths of Atlantis releases TOMORROW (November 2)! The author, Hannah Carter, is going to share the book’s playlist with us today. Are y’all as excited as I am?!

All rights reserved to the artists. Check out each artist on YouTube and support them by purchasing their music through Amazon or iTunes!

Book Playlist

  1. Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne If any song was the “theme song” of Depths, it would definitely be this one. You hear the struggle as the narrator desperately tries to stay afloat as they fight for their life. There’s anguished pleas to God to be saved. And, of course, the water motif. The moment I heard this song, I could just imagine Reanna singing it. The mood and message just encapsulate Depths and her own struggle way too well. 

2. Nobody Else by Em Beihold This is another song that really resonates with Reanna. She often wishes that she were someone else—or even not born—and struggles to see the value in her own worth. But that’s one of the lessons she really has to learn over the series (yes, series—with such an important lesson, she can’t really learn it over the course of one book!). She has to come to terms with the fact that she’s okay. She’s got self-worth. And, if she could only take a better look at herself, she could be happy that she’s nobody else.

3. I’m Still Here by John Rzeznik This is Adam’s theme song, and man, does it hit me hard when I think about his arc. He’s trying his hardest to help, but feels constantly caught between his own secrets and desires. He’s got so much passion and drive and such a determination to show himself as somebody. He wants to prove himself, not just to the world, but to him, too. He wants to be recognized and loved—but he doesn’t know how beyond the hurt he’s already felt. This angsty song really hits everything he feels on the head.

4. Everything You Ever Wanted by Hawk Nelson This is Trevor’s song—and it really hits hard for anyone who’s ever tried to live up to someone’s expectations and still felt like a failure. For anyone who’s ever had prayer after prayer go unanswered. Trevor’s had both, though he doesn’t often show it. He feels like he’ll never be perfect enough for his dad, so he often directs and blames his father. On top of that, he feels confused by his mom leaving, like he’s been abandoned—and that also compounds his anger toward his dad, because, especially in the sort of childlike trauma he’s carried with him, Trevor thinks: “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t make her go away. It was Dad’s fault. He forced Mom away.” I could take a deep dive into Trevor’s psyche, but in the sake of being brief, I’ll leave you with the one lyric that I imagine Trevor would scream-sing in his car: “You told me once/you’d show up/but I fell for that before I fell to pieces/then I woke up/to no one/just a picture of Jesus/in a house left in pieces.”

5. Distance by Christina Perri & Jason Mraz his has been Laile’s theme for as long as I can remember. Specifically, her feelings toward Greg. (Yes, there’s one love song on here!) She’s loved her best friend for as long as she can remember, and she’s just not sure how much longer she can keep this up. Though she does a good job or keeping her distance, she definitely wants to know: “how long til we call this love, love, love?” 

6. The Riddle by Five for Fighting This was one of the last songs I added to the playlist. In fact, finding a song for Greg was AGONIZING. To the point where I even wrote the rough draft of some lyrics because I was like, “I have to write this boy a theme song because nothing will do.” But then I was listening to my music, and this song came on, and I realized—oh my gosh. This is perfect. This is Greg. Everything from the bitter cynicism about life and struggling to find a meaning in it to the search for the answer to life’s questions/riddles—this is my boy in a nutshell.

7. Everybody Talks by Neon Trees This is probably the most “fun” song on the playlist—and why shouldn’t it be, when it represents one of the most fun characters, Whisper? I’d be lying if I said there was a super deep meaning behind this song. I picked it because of the amazing drop when it says “it started with a WHISPERRRRRR,” and since it’s Whisper’s song, well, it just fit. Plus, the whole playful, almost tongue-in-cheek attitude reminds me of my little sarcastic boy so much. 

8. Thumbs by Sabrina Carpenter Want a deep dive into the rabbit hole that is my brain (and YouTube search history)? You have it here. This was another late addition, and it represents Arana and even Atlantis as a whole. I saw someone on YouTube use this song in a video about generational trauma, and it just fit so perfectly that now I can’t unsee the connection. I love watching this video, getting a glimpse of the queens as they pass, and then imagining Reanna as the last one. What will she do with the legacy Atlantis she was handed? After all, mothers teach their daughters they want to pass down…and Arana may be a villain, but she’s not the first in her line.

 

9. Villains Aren’t Born (They’re Made) by PEGGY I heard this song and knew immediately that it was Arana’s song. She’s unquestionably a villain, especially in the eyes of her daughter. But what’s so fascinating to me is—what made her like this? She didn’t come out of the womb and immediately start wars. No, at one point, she was a daughter and a sister, a friend, a princess with responsibilities. So how did she get to a place where: “Don’t tell me it’s not fair/Believe me I’ve been there/I’d much rather be alone/if I’m sitting on a/sitting on a/sitting on a throne” became her theme song? You’ll have to read the series and see…

10. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls This is a strange song because it applies to three of my characters just by the sheer level of angst. Reanna, Adam, and Trevor. For each of them, “and I don’t want the world to see me/cuz I don’t think that they’d understand/when everything’s meant to be broken/I just want you to know who I am” means something different and personal. But those lyrics resonate with each of them so deeply that I’d be remiss to leave out this song. Plus, the line “when everything feels like the movies/yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive” is the greatest song lyric ever penned. 😉 And that one, especially, means something tragic for Reanna. 

11. Air For Free by Relient K This begins the tonal shift in the novels. Sure, this is an atmospheric song, very chill and relaxed. But it’s a quiet question: “air for free/and when I sink to the darkest depths/will you be/there for me?/to hold my hand while I hold my breath.” I imagine my characters reaching out, grasping to find each other, searching for the teamwork that will help them see this through. Plus, I had to love the shoutout to “darkest depths.” That’s such an overwhelming theme to my novel that it made this song perfect to start the last arc. 

12. Fight Song by Rachel Platten Enough of the angst, right? We’re on to happy songs. This represents a shift in the arcs of all my characters, and the answer to the question posed in Air for Free. They’ve been beaten down, broken, and hurt. But this song is a rallying cry that leads them on to the final chapters, to the final moments of the series. They will have to band together and learn that they’ve still got a lot of fight left in them. This scrappy, “knock me down I’ll get back up” song just really hits me in the feels when I think about them.

13. Stand By Me by Florence + the Machine I hate to end a playlist with tears, but that’s where we end. This song always makes me cry—specifically, this version, thanks to Final Fantasy (if you know, you know). But it really serves as the quiet, melancholic end of the book and series. Every time I think of it, I picture the final battles, the final sacrifices, the bittersweet emotions this song conjures. I love Florence’s voice as she soars from the lows to the highs, the sheer emotion she packs into each note. You’ve reached the end of the playlist, the end of the book, and, eventually, the end of the series. You’ve faced down fear and vanquished demons. Look around you… who’s standing with you? Who would you ask to be with you in those final moments? This song is for them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into my novel’s playlist. I hope you’ll listen to these songs and get to know my characters and world more through them. Thanks to Kayla for letting me write all this down, and thanks to you for reading it! I hope to see you soon in the Depths of Atlantis.

Love,

Hannah

Author Interview: Hannah Carter

As part of the week-long blog party in celebration of the upcoming release of The Depths of Atlantis, I had the privilege of interviewing the author, Hannah Carter!

Residing in Kentucky, Hannah is an award-winning author. Her flash fiction piece, “A Home for Nova,” won not only Havok’s Prismatic Editor’s Choice award, but also a 2022 Realm Award! She also won the 2022 Writer Games with her flash fiction piece, “Asheward’s Curse,” and her short story, “Lara” won a Reedsy writing contest.

Some fun facts about Hannah:

  • She is a full-time cat mom to Yelena and Lucy.
  • She also occasionally cares for a wild cat named Hamilton (whenever he deems her cool enough to hang out with).
  • She has been to both Hong Kong and Mexico.
  • She wants to one day visit Japan as well as several different European countries.

Continue reading below for our full interview!

Hannah Carter

Q) We are counting down the days for the release of The Depths of Atlantis! For readers who are just joining in, why should they pick-up a copy?

A) Firstly, because it took me 10+ years to work on this, and I thrive on validation that I didn’t waste all my time. 😉 Just kidding! Readers should pick up my books if they love characters that are real, flawed, and struggling. If they like fantasy where the world is both whimsical and dark (is “darkly whimsical” a genre yet?). If they want characters who are Christians, but not everything can be solved with a prayer and God is sometimes hard to see. If they enjoy sarcasm, banter, secret pop culture references, and lots and lots of twists and turns—have I got a series for them! 

I strive to write books that are like “full course dinners.” Books that leave you with that “I’m stuffed, couldn’t read another thing” book hangovers. Ones that open up questions in your mind, leave a lasting impression on you somehow. I want to make them laugh, cry, think—maybe even hate me a little because “did that HAVE to happen?!” 

But I also want to leave them with hope. With feelings of community, of faith, of love. I want them to feel accepted, welcome, and most importantly, like THEY are important and wanted. That they have some place to belong. And if that appeals to them, hey. Maybe they should give my novel a try. 🙂

Q) What song would be the title track for your life?

A) Oh, this is such a hard one for me! Mostly because I have songs for periods of my life, or days, or such. It’s so hard for me to find one that just encapsulates everything! But I have to say, if someone were to write a title track for my life…I’d want it to be something like “Non-Stop” from the musical Hamilton. It’s such an inspiring piece that always makes me want to get out and WRITE! (And I hope one day that I can claim as many writing victories as Alexander Hamilton did…although, maybe without the whole extramarital affair drama.)

Q) If you were turned into a mermaid for 24 hours, how would you spend your day?

A) I love this question so much! I would definitely spend a good chunk of it squealing and singing all the Little Mermaid songs. But I think I’d try and explore the Mariana Trench, because I couldn’t do that as a human. And who knows what might be down there… I would just want to make sure I was back up top by the time my 24 hours expired! 

Q) What is your favorite quote from The Depths of Atlantis?

A) I’ll choose a more serious one, because there are a bunch of bits of banter that I love. But one that has stuck out in my head ever since I wrote it comes from an exchange between Gregory and Reanna, when they’re mourning together over some bad things that have just happened. 

“Some things…can’t be fixed. Sometimes, you have to admit that life takes turns you don’t want, and you have to face it without slithering out of the bad moments.” -Greg

“This is a bad moment. … And the war. Also a bad moment. Lots of bad moments happening right now.” -Reanna

“Yeah. Lots of bad moments happening right now.” -Greg

I just really love the honesty of this exchange. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I have a bad moment, I’m very tempted to slither out of it, to escape into a dream world of my creation and engage in escapism. But sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you just have to sit with the bad feelings, in the bad moments, and just accept the quiet reality of: this is a bad moment. But the good thing about bad moments? 

They always pass, and good moments come, too. 

Q) What is your favorite book trope and why?

A) I am an eternal sucker for “sunshine x grumpy-grump.” I can’t help it—I love it when those sunshine guys or gals finally get their stoic companion to crack and smile. I love the idea of the grumpy-grumps being completely dedicated to their sunshines. I love the idea of the grumpy-grumps only showing their more playful side with the sunshines on rare, very rare, occasions. 

I also love sarcasm and witty banter. If you’ve got all of these—listen, I’ll just eat it up. This is why I love the My Hero Academia ship of Ms. Joke and Aizawa so much, and why Sophie and Howl will forever be one of my favorite book couples, and why I think Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have the best celebrity marriage. 

Q) What do you hope readers take away from the book? 

A) Oh, so much! I want there to be a message that speaks to just them. But I want them to have deep thoughts about forgiveness, faith, right and wrong, self-love…all of these themes are touched upon in one way or another in this book. These characters are going through a difficult, turbulent time, and they each bring in their own baggage that affects how they see the world and themselves. So I hope that readers also learn to see various sides of things, and that, no matter what they have been through, there is always hope on the other side.  

Q) Describe yourself in 3 words. 

A) Socially awkward, nerd, goofy. I’m sure there are other words one could use to describe me, but probably not all of them would be flattering, LOL. But “don’t mind her, she’s just a socially awkward, goofy nerd” would probably be something someone would say about me on the daily! 😉

Q) Can you share any sneak peeks about what readers can expect with the rest of the series?

A) *zips lips so I don’t spoil anything TOO much* The return of a lot of characters from Depths, as well as a few new characters. I get to introduce Laile’s best friend Aimee, as well as Aimee’s little sister, Bria. You’ll get to see some of Reanna’s royal family members, too—and not all of them have her best interests at heart. More of the world—in Twisted Trident, you’ll get to see more of the continent of Solis and the regions around it. 

Lots of secrets and backstories will be exposed. A few tragedies will strike along the way… and maybe I might throw in one or two kisses for the shippers. I won’t say who, though—or if they’re endgame at the end, or why they have to kiss! 😉

Q) What advice do you have for other authors?

A) Honestly, I feel like a broken record, but don’t give up. This is a labor of love that takes years. And as much as it stinks, it is not a fast process. Writing takes patience. Editing takes patience. Pitching takes patience. Waiting takes patience. But sometimes, when the stars align and all the doors just open, you’ll see what God was doing all along. 

And as someone who isn’t good at patience, this was something that I had to struggle with a lot. It felt like every delay in my dreams was God slamming the door in my face and telling me He didn’t love me as much as everyone else. That there was something wrong with me that everyone else had figured out because He was answering their prayers. But that’s a dangerous—not to mention heretical—game to play. God’s love isn’t dependent on anything. And we don’t have to “learn that lesson” or get “everything right” before He blesses us. I still haven’t fixed all my problems or learned that lesson 100%—but I’m still working on that, and my dreams.

So don’t give up. 

And as a final thought: grow a thick skin. Yes, we can be a sensitive lot. But at the end of the day, if you don’t learn to be able to take criticism and setbacks, then you might spend a lot more time giving up and defeating yourself than if you took it in stride. And I say this as a gal who’s been called “sensitive” quite a few times in my life. 🙂 It’s not EASY, but boy, does it help when those obstacles do come. 

Q) Can you tell us about your other work that is available to readers?

A) Sure! First, if you want “first-editions” of Seashells, Seashells: A Christmas Tail, and Amir and the Moon, you might want to pick them up soon. But if you wait, they’re all undergoing lots of edits and are going to be re-published here soon! (*cue fangirling*) 

Some other things you can find my work in:

Go Havok—many of my flash fiction pieces can be found here. With a membership, you can read them all, including “A Home for Nova,” the 2022 Realm Award flash fiction winner! (And “Potts & Pumpkins,” a 2022 Realm Award semi-finalist!)

Anthologies: Fool’s Honor, Sharper than Thorns, The Never Tales: Volume 1, Havok’s Prismatic, Havok’s Casting Call, Havok’s Animal Kingdom, Aphotic Love, Whispers From Before, Calla Press, Finding God in Anime Volumes 1 & 2, Ganbatte!: The Ties That Bind Us, The Depths We’ll Go To, The Heights We’ll Fly To, Willow Tree Swing, Masquerade.

And due out soon—Equinox & Solstice (Dec 2022), The Never Tales: Volume 2 (May 2023), Quill & Flame Mermaid Anthology (May 2023), Twenty Hill’s Valentine’s Anthology (2023)

Novels due out soon: The Twisted Trident (Depths sequel, summer 2023), #ProjectNightmareHunter (Oct 2023). 

Q) Is there anything else you would like to add?

A) Just that I am so thankful to you for inviting me to celebrate the release of Depths with you—and to the readers who give me a chance to entertain or touch them!

Remember to follow Hannah to stay connected! The Depths of Atlantis releases in two days! *cue confetti*

Be sure to follow the blog and look-out for tomorrow’s post with the book’s playlist!

Special Announcement!

*drumroll, please*

As promised, today there is a special announcement! YOU have an opportunity to win your very own copy of The Depths of Atlantis!

Visit the Rafflecopter Giveaway to see how to gain multiple entries into the giveaway! The giveaway will end at 12:00am EST November 4, and the winner will be announced shortly after!

Terms and Conditions:

If the winner is a U.S. resident, they can choose either one physical paperback copy OR one ebook copy of The Depths of Atlantis by Hannah Carter. If the winner is an international resident, they will win one ebook copy of The Depths of Atlantis by Hannah Carter.

By entering the giveaway, you assert that you are at least 18 years of age or have parental permission to enter. The winner, if a U.S. resident that selects the physical book, will have to provide a mailing address. The winner, if a U.S. resident that selects the ebook or an international winner, will have to provide an email address.

Kayla E. Green (The Unicorn Writer), Hannah Carter, and SnowRidge Press are NOT responsible for delayed shipping or lost mail post-giveaway.

Giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram, Facebook, or WordPress.

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