Book Review: Myth Blessed by Katie Dunn

I came across author Katie Dunn on Instagram, and when I first heard of her YA contemporary fantasy Myth Blessed (ISBN: 9781699214985)I knew I had to read it.

Serena Carter is a normal human — she was never blessed by a myth (mythological creature) despite her parents’ hopes. She plans to move across the country after graduation and start a new life. However, a family vacation to Hawaii sets Serena on a different path. A path that includes attending Myth Blessed Academy, where those gifted learn to control their magical abilities. High School is difficult enough without trying to maneuver newfound magical abilities, let alone a mean girl and a feud between fire and water blessed.

Dunn hooks the reader early in chapter one. I finished this book in one sitting as I was eager to discover what Serena would learn about herself next. Plus, this book has a baby goat. How adorable is that?!

I wish there was more of Serena’s life. I wish there was a second book detailing the rest of her senior year and/or her after high school. I would love Amazon or Netflix to make a TV series inspired by Myth Blessed. That would be a hit show! Anyone who enjoys My Hero Academia or Little Witch Academia would enjoy Myth Blessed.

I will say I wish there was more build up to the climax and I wish there was more during that scene. However, I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it to lovers of YA fantasy and mythological creatures. Plus, there is a good romance trope and I am always a sucker for a good romance trope! I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Link to purchase Myth Blessed by Katie Dunn.

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Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

The Alchemist has been sitting on my bookshelf unopened by me for three years. Yet, when I finally decided to read it, I couldn’t put it down. I devoured it in one sitting. This book is one that I will re-read again and again, discovering more about myself with each turn of the page.

Coehlo’s simplistic tale of a young Andalusian shepherd boy chasing his Personal Legend captivates the reader and calls to one’s heart, helping them rekindle the ember of passion for chasing their own dreams. The boy, after having a recurrent dream, seeks out a Gypsy woman. The woman sends him to find his treasure at the pyramids of Egypt. From there, the boy encounters people and circumstances, that, though not always pleasant, helps him fulfill his Personal Legend and achieve happiness.

I think the best way to capture how much this book spoke to my soul is through sharing some of my favorite lines from the novel:

  • “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”
  • “. . .and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
  • “The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being.”
  • “We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”
  • “Because I don’t live in either my past of my future. I’m interested in only the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”
  • “If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”
  • “You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love. . .”
  • “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
  • “Listen to your heart.”
  • “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
  • “Anyone who interferes with the Personal Legend of another thing never will discover his own.”
  • “When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you. . .”
  • “Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”
  • “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”

The ultimate lesson? Always follow your dreams. AND I shouldn’t let books sit so long without reading them — I’ll never know what I am missing. You can order your own copy of The Alchemist here. This story of adventure, determination, and self-realization will not disappoint.

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Self-Promo Saturday: Metamorphosis

Have you gotten your copy of Metamorphosis yet? You can get it here! Metamorphosis is a collection of Christian poetry, designed to illustrate the power of God’s love.

“Are you searching for something more in your life? Metamorphosis is a personal testimony of how God can transform lives. Covering topics of depression, anxiety, and searching for something more, the poetry serves as a vessel for God’s light. The words provide hope for the future and insight on how to be strong through Jesus Christ. Anyone yearning for something more will find renewal in this poetry.”

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One of the poems within the collection is “I’m A Butterfly.” I want to share that poem with you now.

I’M A BUTTERFLY

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has
come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Second Corinthians 5:17

As I emerge from the silken cocoon
Ending one chapter and starting anew
Cleanse my soul with a raging flame
Illuminate my spirit with the fire
Help me cast my inner demons into the darkness
And fill my body’s temple with Your light.
As I stretch my wings in the newfound light
Awakening from a dream and seizing my reality
Release my soul from the chains of my past
Liberate my spirit from anxieties of my former self
Help me rid my being of negativity
And fill my heart with Your love.
As I begin to soar towards the heavens
Stretching my boundaries
Let me realize who I am in You
Wrap me in Your will
Help me live out Your word
And fill my life with Your good.

 

Book Review: Etania’s Worth by M. H. Elrich

After interviewing M. H. Elrich back in January, I added her debut novel Etania’s Worth to my TBR (ISBN: 978-1087865751). Upon reading it, I wish I had read it sooner. This was a story I did not realize I needed in my life until I opened the book. Elrich magically captures what is means to grow up in both a literal and spiritual sense. Her detailed characters and peoples create a fascinating world, and her plot draws you in making you eager to discover what will happen next.

Etania Selali has a strained relationship with her father who often puts hunting Skazic over his family. Because of this, Etania chooses to become her mother’s apprentice at the library rather than train under her father. However, after a surprise attack by a Skazic, Etania and her family discover she is a Vexli — she has the Neuma (a unique power given by God) to change Skazic back to their human selves (before they were corrupted by Malstorm). Etania struggles accepting her father’s desire to use her as a weapon against the Skazic, but more than that she struggles to accept herself and the fact that Melchizedek (son of God) loves her and has a plan for her life. As Etania travels with her father and his apprentice gathering support for a coming war after a great betrayal, she journeys to places of self-discovery, self-acceptance, love, and God’s grace.

Within the world of Tamnarae, there are many groups of people with specific Neuma. For instance, the Leici have healing Neuma while the Eritam can tame wolves. Similarly the Draconians can control dragons. The Naymatua can grow plants, the Ningyo can control water, and the Kinzoku can manipulate metal. (Personally, I would totally be a Draconian. Is there a quiz for this? There should be a quiz for this.)

One of my favorite quotes from the book reads, “He loved her even when she couldn’t love herself.” I think this line perfectly captures what true love looks like, and the unwavering love God has for us. As Etania discovers the love of God, we are reminded of it again and again. Elrich’s writing is a beautiful reminder that God is the source of all love and that our relationship with him should always remain a priority.

I highly recommend Etania’s Worth to lovers of YA fantasy and Christian fiction.

Order your own copy today!

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Author Interview: Nicole Adamz

2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

I had the pleasure of reviewing Claimed: The Land of Schism Book 1 last week, and this week I had the honor of interviewing the author Nicole Adamz. Adamz is a talented author writing for a higher purpose of creating Christian fantasy fiction to create a space for young and new adults to explore their faith. It was a delight getting to know her better.

In addition to being a gifted author, Adamz is a small business owner. Living in Tennessee, Adamz enjoys spending time with her family, spending time outdoors, delving into fairy-tales and myths from various cultures, binge-watching Asian dramas and anime, playing board games and video games, and drawing and creating art. Read our full interview below to get to know Adamz and her writing better!

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Q) How long have you been writing?

A) I started writing in the fourth grade (fantasy stories were my main interest even then), but I didn’t begin writing consistently until I was an adult. So, I’ve been on the writing journey for many years but as an author I’ve been writing for eight years.

Q) Why do you write?

A) I write for many reasons. Stories sing through my blood, swirl through my mind, and find an outlet with my words. They have to have a place to go, so they always end up on paper in some form. However, I also write with a purpose. There’s a gap in the book market, an aching need waiting to be filled. I noticed it as a youth, teen, young adult, and new adult, and adult. There isn’t a lot of Christian fantasy fiction available, and I want to help provide the generations after me with something I didn’t have much of while growing up: a place to whet and explore my faith within a fantasy setting.

Q) What inspired Claimed and its sequel Envoy?

A) There is a very long explanation for this, but the short version is that Claimed was partly inspired by a brief scene in the anime version of Skip Beat. It was no more than a few minutes long, but for me, it was a powerful scene of friendship and betrayal. I couldn’t get it out of my mind, and it resonated with me because I’ve had similar events happen in my life. Questions swirled inside of my head when I thought about the scene: what type of choices and situations had led the two women to such different paths? From there, Claimed was born and filtered through a Christian perspective of there being light and dark in the world, how they lead people to make different choices in similar circumstances, and what the journey toward faith – or away from it – is like for some people.

Q) What is your favorite thing about the Land of Schism books?

A) Um, everything? Am I allowed to answer with that? *Laughs* On a basic level, my favorite part of the series is the world itself. Each kingdom has its own setting, so nothing is ever the same. There are different cities, races, cultures, economic systems, magic systems/practices, and religious practices. The only thing that unifies them all is a belief in the light (the True One) and the dark (the Usurper). I like that all of these are portrayed through different first person narratives via two females who are completely different, and that readers might connect with one or both characters in different ways as they journey through the Land of Schism – and they can watch them grow through each challenge. On a deeper level, my favorite thing about the Land of Schism series is how the perception of religious beliefs and faith are challenged via the two main characters. The expectations that both have for their lives go completely awry. Amid those circumstances, they struggle with trying to find redemption in some way – and believing if they’re worthy of it.

Q) Do you have any other works currently available for readers?

A) Nothing that is published yet, but I have an upcoming novella series that will be released this year. In just a few months, actually!

Q) What projects are you currently working on? Can you tell me a little about those?

A) Absolutely! The novella series that I’m currently working on is something that I have developed with co-writer and friend Brooke Chastain. The series is a retelling of Little Women within the Steampunk genre that has an Asian inspired setting. The novellas will individually explore the story of each March sister in a unique way, and they will all be light, clean reads with a touch of faith in them. I also have a short story that I will be releasing sometime this year that is a bit of a prequel story in the Land of Schism series that has to do with Lucinda, a character that appears in Envoy: The Land of Schism Book Two. It touches on why she has so much anger and loathing for the Elysians. I’m also working on the outline for Rivened: The Land of Schism Book Three (to be released 2021). Later this year, I will also be working on multiple format releases for all of my current and future works and getting a system in place for those.

Q) Can you tell me about your hope and vision for your writing?

A) My hope and vision for my writing is deeply tied to my Christian faith. I want to provide reading material for New Adult and Adult Christians who are voracious readers with an appetite for fantasy and science fiction genres looking for edgy, sometimes dark but non-graphic, clean, and faith-based themed writing. Hopefully, the stories I write are ones that readers want to visit over and over again, share with friends and family, and they all meet characters who are, or become, familiar to them. Beyond that, I hope to continuously improve my writing and editing skills.

Q) Are there religious undertones to your writing?

A) My faith is a huge part of my life, so there are always going to be some sort of religious undertones in my writing, but I try not to be “pushy” about it. I always try to honor God in some way, even if it isn’t always explicitly evident in each work. I want to be able to use the talent He has given me to reach people. In particular, people who are struggling with finding or having faith in God when they’ve made mistakes, they have regrets, and they have trouble believing anyone – especially God – will truly love them. Through my writing I want to point back to Him and His ways. Even if it is one word, sentence, paragraph, or page. I want readers who might be lost, broken, or struggling to have fantasy worlds that they can briefly live in that might help address those issues from a Christian perspective.

Q) How has God impacted you and your writing?

A) God has impacted so much of my life, starting with my heart and relationship with Him. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without His guidance. My writing would not be as it is without Him either, and I actively pray about my writing. Often, I will read something in the Bible, while doing a Bible study, or listening to a sermon and inspiration for parts of my stories will take hold. I use a lot of allegories, metaphors, and sometimes analogies that revolve around God, His word, or His ways.

Q) What advice do you have for other authors?

A) If someone wants to become an author part-time or full-time, my first piece of advice is to continuously write and edit. You need to finish your first complete work even if you think it is complete crap. Congratulations if you do finish it! Let it sit there for a few weeks or months, go back to it, and objectively edit it a few times – then have someone else edit it. Preferably an editor. Writing and editing are two different skill sets. You probably don’t have both, and if you do, chances are you’re better at one than the other.

My second piece of advice is to adjust any expectations about timelines you have (not to be confused with deadlines). As fast-paced as the world is, and constantly changing, there aren’t many authors who can constantly churn out quality work. Quality matters far more than quantity, and quantity gained with quality status is years’ worth of hard work.

My third piece of advice is not to be intimidated by other authors and what they’re writing. Is their story better than yours? Maybe. Is their writing style better than yours? Again, maybe. The point is not to compare, but to learn from each other. Don’t pick up someone else’s work and immediately discredit your own – and vice versa. Constantly search for ways you can improve, and make sure you take the time to put what you learn into practice.

Final piece of advice is don’t be afraid of criticism. Someone else’s criticism is merely their opinion, and people will always have good or bad opinions about someone else’s work. Be objective if it is negative, and discern if there is a grain of truth there. Can you improve something in your writing, or were they merely complaining? Then, either fix it, or move on. If the opinion is positive, take a moment to send up praise, tip your hat at the person, and again, move on. Always move on. If you stop moving forward you will never get anywhere with your writing.

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Order your copy of Claimed here and your copy of Envoy here! Follow Adamz on social media to stay up to date with her and her writing — if you are interested in becoming an ARC reader for Adamz, please reach out to her.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleadamzwrites.com                                              Website: https://www.nicoleadamzwrites.com                                                                Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/nicoleadamzwrites/boards/

 

Book Review: Claimed by Nicole Adamz

Claimed: The Land of Schism Book One is an epic fantasy for young and new adult readers that follows the first-person perspectives of two Elysians, Ari and Maewyn. The story is full of deception, betrayal, twists, and darkness that will captivate the reader.

The fantasy world of Claimed (ISBN: 9781734389319) is quite complex. For example, Maewyn is the Second-Born Story Weaver and as such is a talented Caelum. However, Ari, Maewyn’s Tyro (assistant), has yet to have her talent manifest. Both Elysians have secrets, in addition to the challenges their standing brings. Ari is a believer of the True One and is trying to save enough dosh (money) to rescue the Anomaly that helped raise her. Due to her religion (which she must keep secret), Ari is very modest and conservative. Maewyn, on the other hand, is very fashionable and highly social. Maewyn’s first secret is that she must do the bidding of her cruel family — a family that doesn’t care who gets hurt as long as their social standing increases. Despite their secrets and their differences, the two Elysians are friends. Or are they? “Betrayal begins with a choice.”

I enjoyed the detailed fantasy world that Adamz creates, though it did take some time to understand the dynamics of the world. I was initially wary of seeing there were two first-person characters, but Adamz does an eloquent job of character and plot development through her style of writing. I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next with both Ari and Maewyn. I’m excited to read book 2 to see how the story continues to unfold.

Link to purchase your own copy of Claimed. 

Link to purchase your own copy of Envoy. 

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Self-Promo Saturday: Metamorphosis Is Now Available!

“Are you searching for something more? Metamorphosis is a personal testimony of how God can transform lives. Covering topics of depression, anxiety, and searching for something more, the poetry serves as a vessel for God’s light. The words provide hope for the future and insight on how to be strong through Jesus Christ. Anyone yearning for something more will find renewal in this poetry.”

I am happy beyond words to announce that my poetry collection is now available here!

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In celebration of the release, please enjoy the poem which inspired the title of my collection.

METAMORPHOSIS

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5–6

I’m not the same as I was yesterday,
So why am I trapped?
Stuck between a cocoon and having wings
To soar.

I want to fly
So why am I waiting?
Stuck in the silk wrappings
Suffocating.

I want to flutter
So why am I confined?
Trapped between who I was and who
I want to be.

Show me Your will
In this time of change
Help me
To understand.

Author Interview: Hannah Carter

I had the privilege of reviewing some of Hannah Carter’s work last week, and this week I was able to interview Carter. Carter is a strong Christian woman, and I feel honored to have her featured here on my blog.

In addition to being a talented author, Carter is a pharmacy technician and an online ESL teacher. Living in Kentucky, Carter enjoys reading, watching Disney+ and old Audrey Hepburn movies, singing and dancing with “varied amounts of talent,” playing Animal Crossing, and swimming. Fun fact, Carter has a swimmable mermaid tail! Keep reading below to learn more about Carter and her writing.

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Q) How long have you been writing?

A) I’ve been writing things down since I was about 10 or so, but my first attempt was pretty terrible, as most first attempts are. I wrote a whole chapter about my heroine getting dressed, telling exactly the time it took her to brush her hair, her teeth, etc.  Thankfully, that story is hidden in the back of my laptop, never to see the light of day again.

Although, if we’re honest, I’ve been creating stories in my head for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are the random stories I created! They mostly had to do with mermaids, Disney princesses, Scooby-Doo, and The Wiggles, so probably copyright—and lack of a coherent plot—will keep those from being released.

Nowadays, I’ve discarded my plots about talking dogs and colorful singers, but I’ve kept the mermaid bits.

Q) Why do you write?

A) I write for a two-fold reason. The first is that God has given me a passion, and I feel that if He has blessed me with such a huge desire to do something, then He must want me to serve Him in this way. I get such enjoyment out of writing, and it feels like where I am fulfilled.

The other part of this desire is that I want to influence people to follow God wholeheartedly. My writing is my mission, and I want to be able to touch people’s hearts as many other authors have often touched mine. My writing follows my motto that, whether we’re in Middle-Earth or Regular-Earth, our search and God’s love is the same.

Q) What inspired “Amir and the Moon?”

A) A few years ago, the author Anne Elisabeth Stengl was in the midst of running fairy-tale retelling contests. She picked 5 winners each year to get their work published in an anthology collection. Only, she took a year off in between contests, and I decided that it would be a great opportunity to get ahead of the curve and go ahead and write so I could enter when the contests started back. The only problem: I didn’t know the story she would pick, so I just kind of went with Little Mermaid because it’s my favorite (and there has already been a Beauty & the Beast collection).

I’ve always loved culture and myths around the world as well, and I frequently scour the internet to see if I can learn anything new. One day, I found that a Japanese folklore says that if you eat a mermaid, you’ll be granted eternal life…so wouldn’t it be interesting if there was a Little Mermaid story with this darker twist?

But I wanted more twists from the original! What if the Sea Witch wasn’t a Sea Witch at all…but a genie? All the sudden, Amir was born, and the rest of the story came with him.

The contest did not end up being a Little Mermaid retelling, so I couldn’t enter, but instead of letting Moon and Amir wallow in my computer, I decided to self-publish it and see what would happen!

Q) What inspired “Seashells?”

A) So, after I finished my novel-length trilogy, I hit a complete writing slump. I couldn’t write anything without faltering and losing enthusiasm a few chapters in. I had no idea which storyline I should do next in my canon universe because I had so many ideas, but every single one of them failed in execution.

One day, my writing friend and I were discussing characters and plot lines, and we got onto the fact that, in my universe, mermen are kept as slaves to the mermaids. We discussed what might happen if one of them escaped, and what would happen if they made their way to the surface world.

Something finally sparked! This was something I could go with. And I could make it work to where it could be connected to my original universe without having the pressure of keeping up the continuity of my main series. In the end, I didn’t even specify whether it was our world or the alternate dimension of my universe, because nobody else has read my canon books yet, and the details would just bog down the storyline.

That was absolutely freeing to me!

I also released the pressure of trying to write a full-length novel. I was still a little gun shy, since every other novel idea had died a few chapters in. I would write a short story, without trying to hit any specific word count.

So, with this decided, it wasn’t too long before Sariah came into my mind, wearing her white dress with the too-big hat she detests and desperate for adventure. And, of course, if Sariah was going to have an adventure, she would need proper supervision, so Nanny Eleanor barged in next and everything fell in place!

Q) Do you have any other works currently available for readers?

A) I just published “Seashells,” so I’m hoping to have a great launch with that! It’s available to read for free on blog and that won’t change, but if anyone would like to own a copy as well, it’s for sale on Amazon, too.

A few other short stories are available on my Reedsy profile, which hosts contests for authors. One of mine, “Lara,” ended up winning!

I also have several devotions published through my blog, and two connected Christmas and Easter church plays available on Amazon! I’m currently in the querying stage for my fantasy trilogy as well, so hopefully there will be news to share about that soon!

Q) What projects are you currently working on? Can you tell me a little about those?

A) I would love to! I also have a terrible habit of starting more projects than I can finish, so we’ll see if I can push this to fruition.

My current baby can best be described as Little Women meets steampunk (I hope that isn’t too odd ). I love the strong bonds of sisterhood that Louisa May Alcott’s book has (I’m an absolute sucker for the 2019 movie as well), so those kinds of familial relationships are at the forefront of my new work. Except, instead of writing or finding husbands, my girls tend to jump off airships, escape from jail, and cause a general ruckus as they try to rescue their abducted sister and steal back their inventions from rebels who want to use them to overthrow the government.

It’s my first attempt at steampunk and also the first manuscript that I’m trying to hand-write, so it’s a unique experience for me!

Q) Can you tell me about your hope and vision for your writing?

 A) Right now, one of my biggest hopes is to actually get published soon. I would love to start my actual “job” as a writer and hold a published copy of my books in my hands.

But my overarching vision for my book is to start a community where people can come to be blessed and make friendships. Part of my ministry in my writing is helping girls who are lonely, depressed, anxious, and feeling alone. Growing up is hard, and, let’s face it: none of us are ever really grown up! I would love to form a place where girls can come together and have strong friendships and a place to ask questions about God. My book would be only one facet of that dream, part of a talking point or something that would bring them into the community.

My other vision, related solely to my book, is to get all the ideas down I have for this universe and actually finish them! My first trilogy was only my starting point: there are so many other people and so many other places to go in this world! So many things to do! And, unless I get started, nobody will know about them.

Q) Are there religious undertones to your writing?

A) There are definitely religious undertones in my writing! I consider that part of my mission as well. My short stories like “Amir” and “Seashells” aren’t too overtly religious, but my novels grapple more with faith issues. I love to tackle hard questions about faith—why do bad things happen to good people? How do we trust God when His ways don’t make sense?—and, over the course of my trilogy, my heroine goes on a faith journey as her struggles open her eyes to God’s heart and she begins to understand her worth in Him.

I also have God and Jesus “stand-ins” for my other world. The Composer is the name that my characters know God by in Gaia (my alternate dimension), because God is the composer and the universe is His song—He keeps everything in time and together.

And, of course, I want to keep my values and beliefs at the forefront of my writing. So, even if there aren’t any overt religious tones, all my work is clean (although I can’t promise there won’t be bloodshed and death).

Q) How has God impacted you and your writing?

A) I truly don’t think that I would be writing without God. I feel like God has given me the inspiration for my stories, as well as the words to say at crucial moments. There have been times when I’ve been lost as to the next step that I should take or how to deal with my characters’ emotions and questions. In every situation, God has come through and slowly revealed His heart. There have been so many times that I’ve started crying because the answer to my characters’ doubts, anger, and questions have been so perfect for them—but also for me. I feel like there are times when God is trying to talk to me, and I feel so honored that someday, someone else might be touched by His message through me.

Q) What advice do you have for other authors?

A) My biggest piece of advice for other authors kind of sounds like one of those inspirational cat posters, but it’s true: never give up. Writing a book, putting words to a blank piece of paper, is hard and it’s so much easier to abandon it. If you’re going to send it out to the world, querying and rejections can make you doubt your worth as an author and the value of your story. Not to mention that you’ve got to try and market it and get reviews, and then dealing with harsh reviews. . .there’s really not a single part of the writing process that I would call “easy.”

But: if God has called you to be a writer, if He’s planted this seed of creativity inside your heart, then He will see you through. Cling to Him and know that everybody has been where you were. J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, and Louisa May Alcott were all rejected at one point or another—multiple times! That’s been wildly comforting to me whenever I feel down. There’s great company here in the reject pile!

And, most importantly, my Heavenly Father will never reject me, and He sees the value in all my work.

Be sure to order your copies of “Amir and the Moon” and “Seashells” today! Also, follow Carter’s blog and her social media to stay up to date with her and her writing!

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Reedsy Prompts profile (some of Carter’s short stories can be found here!)

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Short Story Review: Hannah Carter’s “Amir and the Moon” & “Seashells”

Hannah Carter is a gifted writer with two short stories available online. Her characters’ voices create real emotion for the reader, and once you begin reading Carter’s work, she will quickly become one of your favorite authors.

I first fell in love with Carter’s narrative through reading “Amir and the Moon.” This short story is a retelling of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. The story begins with Amir, a bad Jinni. Well, he strives to be bad, just like his ancestor the diabolical Blue Jinni, but he struggles — he’s a bad bad Jinni. His incompetency gets him thrown overboard into the sea, which is where the heart of the story begins. A little mermaid named Moon discovers his lamp and decides to have Amir help her win the heart of her one true love, Prince Takeshi. However, with his efforts to be a bad Jinni, Amir’s angst and antics create obstacles for Moon. Yet, Amir proves to not be all bad — you must read it to understand what I mean!

I loved so much about this story — Amir’s inner dialogue made me giggle out loud, and the character development made me connect with the plot and really invest in the story. The ending brought me to tears, and I couldn’t wait to read more of Carter’s work. That led me to her short story “Seashells.”

“Seashells” follows a young imaginative girl named Sariah, who is whisked away to the beach to spend the summer with Nanny Eleanor, her grandmother. Sariah first questions why she is so unlucky to be with the strict and proper Nanny Eleanor, but after an amazing discovery Sariah realizes just how lucky she is. Sariah works with her grandmother to save a young merman, who Sariah names George. Can Sariah conjure up her inner pirate and keep George safe from those that hunt him?

This story of growing up and learning about what it means to be a friend made me fall in love with mermaids. Again, Carter’s narrative moved me to tears and her character development made it where I struggled to put the story down before completion.

I 10/10 would recommend Carter’s short stories, and I cannot wait to read more from this author. See the links below to get your copy of Carter’s amazing works!

Get your copy of “Amir and The Moon” here!

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Get your copy of “Seashells” here!

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Author Interview: S. L. Abbott

Last week, I had the privilege of writing a review of the amazing YA Fantasy novel, Brayden’s Darkness by S. L. Abbott. This week, I’m excited to announce that I had the honor of interviewing S. L. Abbott.

S.L. Abbott is an Instructional Assistant for her local school district in addition to being a gifted writer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her family. Read our full interview below to learn more about Abbott and her writing.

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Q) Why do you write?

A) I write because I love it. I honestly can’t imagine not writing. I have been creating stories ever since I was a child. Even in elementary school, during recess, I would sit beneath a shaded tree and think of stories. After college I took a break (somewhere around 5 years) where I didn’t write at all. I was burnt out from college and just couldn’t get myself to sit down and focus…but then once I found my way back to it, I realized how relaxing it is when you get to write what you want with no deadline. If I have had a busy or stressful day, it is a way for me to just relax and unwind. 

Plus, I love the unknown of writing. I have always loved reading and not knowing what will happen next…and this is even better. Because not only do I not always know what will happen to my characters, sometimes they surprise me! I know that sounds strange…but sometimes I’ll be so focused that my fingers are practically flying off the keyboard and I’ll end up writing a scene that I had honestly never even thought of before that moment.

Q) What inspired Brayden’s Darkness?

A) Back in college I was reading so many YA Fantasy novels that I reached the point where I couldn’t decide on another book to read. I was hooked on a particular story type and nothing seemed to fit. Then while lying in bed I began getting ideas. So, late at night, I’d scribble down all of the ideas on the notepad I kept on my nightstand. More often than not, the next morning I couldn’t actually read half of what I wrote…but slowly a story began to form. It’s actually funny, because my very first draft of Brayden’s Darkness is nothing like my, now, published version. Just over the years it changed and morphed into what it is today.

Q) Can you tell me about your short stories “Tantalizing and Tormenting” and “The Boy with the Glowing Eyes,” and how they are connected to Brayden’s Darkness?

A)The Boy with the Glowing Eyes” was the first short story I wrote in relation to Brayden’s Darkness. I actually wouldn’t even call it a short story, it’s more of a glimpse into a moment.

In the novel Brayden’s Darkness, we meet an old woman who we find out cared for Brayden as a young child. I wanted to keep her rather mysterious in Book One, so readers don’t know too much about her. “The Boy with the Glowing Eyes” is about the moment where she first meets Brayden. Not only do you get a glimpse of the tragedy that Brayden endured at a young age, but you begin to meet the old woman. You find out her name, a little about her past, and also you discover what she is. You will see more of her in Book 2, so it’s important for readers to know more about her.

“Tantalizing and Tormenting” was my second short story. In the novel Brayden’s Darkness, there is a scene that takes place at a Masquerade Dance. (One of my favorite scenes in the book.) Without giving too much away, as Evren ascends the grand staircase up to the castle, a young man offers to escort her. Something always stuck out to me about him. At the time I knew nothing about him, nor what would happen…but then one night it hit me. I knew that there had to be something going on that I didn’t want the reader to know about yet. So, the short story was a perfect opportunity for the readers to experience the Masquerade ball from a different perspective, and experience what was actually going on.

 Q) Are you working on any more short stories?

A) I have a long list of short story ideas, but have not started them yet. I am currently devoting all of my spare time into writing Book Two AND a Novella/ Novelette (that takes place after Book Two ends).

Q) I’m so excited for Book 2! Do you have any teasers that you would be willing to share?

A) Hmm…..Excellent question. Book 2 is very much an experiment for me. It alternates from Past to Present. The “Present” chapters follow Brayden immediately after Book One. Which, if you’ve read it, you can imagine what his mental state may be. You will follow him and watch the Darkness consume him.

The “Past” chapters, well that’s where I’m afraid of giving away too much. I will say that the main character’s name is Maealynn. She is a little feistier than Evren and a little less proper…that’s probably all I will say about her. Trust me, you’re going to love her. I can also tell you, you will meet a guy named Artemis. And I must say, I really love his character. He is probably my favorite character so far.

The “Past” and “Present” chapters tell two separate stories until they merge at the very end and you finally see the importance of all of the characters. 

Q) Can you describe your hope and vision for your series?

A) My hope is that people fall in love in love with my characters as I have. I have so many ideas for short stories and books. If no one reads them, then whatever, I am still going to write everything for me. . . but if I can get someone else to be excited about my characters that would be amazing.

Q) What advice do you have for other writers?

A) My advice to other writers is to just write. Write because that’s what you love to do. I think we are all self conscious and worry that our work is terrible. Heck, I even have days where I convince myself my writing is awful and I should never publish anything ever again…but then I meet someone like the wonderful person conducting this interview. When you meet someone, who enjoys what you write, you are able to stop being so critical of yourself and just get back to doing what you love.

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Be sure to order your copy of Brayden’s Darkness today! Also follow Abbott on social media!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.l.abbott_author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/S.L.AbbottDarkness/