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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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!)

Instagram

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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.

Author pic

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/

 

Book Review: Brayden’s Darkness by S. L. Abbott

I can sum up my experience reading Brayden’s Darkness by S. L. Abbott in short: When is book two being released?! Fans of YA Fantasy will simply fall in love with Evren and Brayden, and find that the book is difficult to set down.

Brayden’s Darkness (ISBN: 978-1-7332353-0-3) follows Evren, a sweet and shy Fae, who catches the eye of two handsome young Fae at a bonfire. However, one’s intentions are far from pure and the other has a dark power lurking within him that he struggles to control. Evren must discover who she can trust with her heart, and her life, before it is too late.

Abbott’s style of writing helps you get lost in Evren’s world, allowing you to forget you are even reading. She does a fantastic job of establishing the fantasy world within the simple town of Rowen. Through her vivid descriptions, you feel that you are with Evren in every scene.

One of the things I liked best about this fantasy was the romance element. I was on the edge of me seat waiting for Evren to make the “right” choice. And when Evren went to the Masquerade Ball? Holy moly was I hooked to every word on the page! You will have to read yourself to know what I’m talking about — I don’t want to spoil it by saying too much!

Abbott also has a short story “Tantalizing and Tormenting” which is a different perspective of my personal favorite scene in the book (the Masquerade Ball). It is also a great read, and currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

I sincerely enjoyed this book, and I have no qualms with it other than that there isn’t more (yet). If you enjoy fantastical elements and love stories, this book is for you.

Link to purchase your own copy of Brayden’s Darkness. 

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Updates Coming!

Hey friends!

I apologize where I have been absent on my blog the last few months, but I have been working on some exciting stuff for you all! I have been working on my TBR list, so I will be having more book reviews coming soon. In addition, my poetry collection Metamorphosis is nearing publication — I will be sharing a book trailer, sneak peeks, and the cover reveal in the coming weeks!

Feel free to follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/theunicornwriter93 where I post almost daily.

Thank you for your support of my blog and my writing, and I hope you will enjoy the upcoming content!

Love and unicorn magic to you all! ❤

Interview With Author M. H. Elrich

M. H. Elrich is a middle school English Language Arts teacher and an award winning author. She recently one first-place and best-in-show for her short story “Boundaries.” A self-proclaimed nerd, she loves fantasy, anime, and manga. She enjoys curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and a cat. But above all else, Elrich is an inspiration. She stated, ” I’m just a woman who loved books enough to write her own. I want my book to encourage you and entertain you, just like reading books entertains and encourages me on a daily basis.” Read our full interview below to learn more about Elrich and her writing.

Elrich. M.H. - M.H. Elrich

Q) Can you tell me about your book Etania’s Worth?
A) Etania’s Worth is a YA Christian Fantasy book perfect for fans of Gillian Bronte Adams, C.S. Lewis, Morgan L. Busse, Tricia Mingerink, and Jaye L. Knight. If I could summarize the book in one sentence it would be the last line of my book blurb, slightly altered. The death of a family member forces Etania Selali to act before it is too late, setting her on a journey leading to love and an acceptance for her newfound gift.
Q) Who inspired the character of Etania?
A) *Shyly raises hand* Etania is like who I was when I was a teenager. Unconfident and unsure, believing herself to be unimportant in the eyes of others. I used to be that person, and it took a while for me to embrace my identity in Christ. What really helped me, besides wonderful friends and family, was reading the book Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge. That book taught me that my value comes from God, and I used that lesson to formulate Etania.
Q) Can you tell me about your novella Toothbreaker, and how it fits into Etania’s story?
A) The best way to summarize Toothbreaker is to use the first line of my blurb, slightly altered: Sage betrayed his people. Tamar once loved him. Vartok hunts them both. Toothbreaker is about all three of these people, and how the choices they make an impact on each of them.
Toothbreaker is a novella that takes place alongside Etania’s story, as in the same timeline as the story. Sage is the second person Etania changed with her powers from a monster to a man. Sage’s journey takes him to the same battle that Etania faces at the end of the story and how he will impact Etania’s future is something I don’t want to spoil. Vartok is also one of the minor characters in Etania’s Worth, so there are quite a few tie-in’s!
Q) Can you describe your hopes and vision for your book series?
A) I consider Etania’s Worth to be Book 1 in the Daughters of Tamnarae series. I plan on publishing two more books about Etania, titled Etania’s Calling and Etania’s Destiny. These books are about Etania’s adventures on Tamnarae.  After that, I will begin writing about Lavanna, Etania’s daughter. Thus, the name of the series as “daughters.” I want to do books about Etania’s granddaughter and books about Etania’s mother, Tala, but I don’t have any ideas for those yet! I am sure I will have ideas for them eventually 🙂 Oh yeah, and I want to throw in a few more novellas as well. I definitely plan on this being an expansive series!
Q) Are there religious undertones in your writing?
A)     To answer this question, I have to tell a bit of a story, so bear with me. Back when I first came up with the ideas for the Daughters of Tamnarae series, I debated on what type of a story I wanted to create. As a Christian, I knew I wanted to create a story that had a Christian message. But I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be like C.S. Lewis, and create an obvious God-figure, or like Tolkein, and create a more symbolic God-figure. After praying about it, I decided I would go the Lewis route (though I have written a few more symbolic short stories). As a result, my books are very obvious about their Christian ties. Melchizedek is my Christ-figure and Jakin, Etania’s father, is based on the disciple Peter. I basically thought: if I could have a fantasy world where Christ came, how would I create it? In terms of Biblical times, though, Etania’s books take place years after Melchizedek’s coming and Jakin’s discipleship (his long life is explained in the book). So, there really aren’t undertones as much as there are obvious messages designed to encourage Christians in their faith. That being said, I don’t feel like my books are preachy, and the reviews I’ve received have encouraged me that the message is seamlessly incorporated into the story as a whole.
Q) How has God impacted you and your writing?
A) God is my muse. I feel like his Holy Spirit informs my writing and helps me refine my ideas. If I try to start writing without prayer or doing my Bible Study first, I am often stuck and unable to write. He is the one that enables me to put words on paper, and I am so grateful for how He has worked in my life. He draws me close and teaches me so that I could incorporate those lessons into my writing. Without him, I don’t think I could write.
Q) What advice do you have for other writers?
A) There is so much advice I have! I’ve often thought about putting together a blog (I even have a document full of blog posts). So, if I absolutely had to come up with one piece of advice, it would be to break down your writing projects into digestible pieces. Schedule time for writing, editing, and marketing. There are many stages to finishing a book, and it’s okay to do one piece of the project at a time. Especially if you’re working full-time like me.
Q) What do you like to write about outside of your series?
A) As I mentioned before, I keep a document filled with my writing blog posts. I also write book reviews (when I have time) going into the three core parts of a story (character, plot, and setting). I like interviewing authors on my blog, just like you 🙂 and participating in blog tours for other people’s books. I’ve also thought about doing a few fairy tale retellings, and currently have a Snow White retelling sitting in my documents. I also have some short story ideas and short stories written that I’m looking to traditionally publish. However, I mainly want to focus on Etania’s books, so my side projects usually happen during vacation.
Be sure to order yourself a copy of Etania’s Worth and pre-order Toothbreaker! Also, follow M. H. Elrich on social media!

Interview With Author R. M. Archer

R. M. Archer is a YA speculative fiction author who I met through social media. She is a homeschool senior with a worldview colored by her faith. Read our interview below to learn more about this inspiring writer and editor.

Q) You have an up and coming release of four short stories. Would you be willing to share more information on the individual stories and/or the release?

A) Absolutely! This is a new edition of a collection I published two years ago. Back then, it contained two sci-fi stories and two fantasy stories; now it contains the same two sci-fi stories (one heavily revised), a contemporary story, and a brand new fantasy story.
The sci-fi stories both take place in a future version of Earth, and both have connections to a fictional company called Grantech that appears in most of my sci-fi. One is about a character Grantech wants to steal powers from, and the other is about a group of students who are forced into an escape room as a recruitment test.
The contemporary story was originally an experiment. I tend to write a lot of dialogue, so I wanted to see how much emotion and information I could convey without conversation, and I was really happy with the results. The setting was born from the song Carnival Hearts by Kayla Diamond, and it was really fun to write. The fantasy story takes place in a world called Deseran, which I’m super excited to share with readers. I’ve been fascinated with non-European-inspired fantasy for a couple of years, and especially with desert fantasy, and this world was born of that. This story–Caithan–was a really cool opportunity to explore a little corner of Deseran and get to know some of the characters who live there and the issues they face, especially with clashing cultures.

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Q) Do you have a favorite story from the collection of short stories? Why or why not?

A) I like most of them for one reason or another. Silence is less special to me at this point, but Escape Room is cool because I’ve brought it so far from where it started, Carnival Hearts was a fun style to write and I loved stretching out of my comfort zone, and Caithan–really any story I set in Deseran–is a sort of passion project for me.

Q) What are your favorite things to write about?

A) Ooh. Relationships are super important to me. I love showing different types of relationships, and especially family relationships. I also love writing about fantastical worlds and creating new cultures and races and that kind of thing. And I enjoy tackling important issues through the lens of other worlds and characters who don’t have the same cultural expectations that we do.

Q) What inspires you to write?

A) Small-scale, everything inspires me. Random people I see in the grocery store, historical events I’m reading about in school… Once I had a whole conversation in my head between two fictional politicians that was inspired by dishcloths.
In general, though, there are a few driving forces. The earliest reason was just as an outlet for my imagination; I love to create, and writing allows for near-infinite creative freedom. Now, though, there’s also a desire to expose truths through storytelling, whether it’s something more religious like the idea of grace or something more social like the importance of family relationships and community.

Q) Are there religious undertones in your writing?

A)  It depends on how you define “religious undertones.” My faith colors my entire worldview, so in that sense all of my work has religious undertones because all of my themes are built from a Christian perspective. As far as more overt Christian themes or references, it depends on the project. Most of my projects don’t have direct Christian ties or allegory, but I do have other projects featuring prominent Christian characters (or the fantasy equivalent).

Q) How has God impacted you and your writing?

A) God has impacted me in sooo many ways. I wouldn’t be at all the person I am today without Him. He’s taught me grace, He’s lifted me out of depression, He’s given me courage to speak up… I owe everything to Him.
As far as my writing is concerned, He’s informed the themes of a lot of my books, and I try to turn to Him when I’m stuck in my writing. I’m still very imperfect at involving Him in my writing, though, and that’s something I’m aiming to work on this year.

Q) What are your plans for your writing?

A) I’d like to make a part-time career out of it. I’m still a long way from that point, but I have so many novels I’d love to put out once I have the resources to polish them to a professional level, and someday I’d love to be able to publish consistently.

Q) What advice do you have for other writers?

A) Assuming you’re looking to make a career of writing, make writing a habit. Take it seriously. You can’t produce (or polish) material consistently enough to make a living off of it if you’re not writing and revising consistently, so find a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

Q) How can readers access your stories once they are released?

A) They’ll be available in both ebook and print format on Amazon. The ebook is actually available for pre-order now at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083H33Y5C

Be sure to pre-order the collection at the link above and follow R. M. Archer on social media!

 

 

Book of the Month: Simple Habits For Marital Happiness by Randall Schroeder

I’m very excited to introduce the first Book of the Month for 2020: Simple Habits For Marital Happiness: Practical Skills And Tools That Build A Strong And Satisfying Relationship. I sincerely enjoyed the book, and I plan to implement several of the lessons within my own marriage.

Whether you are engaged and planning your life together, newly-weds, or have been married for thirty years, the lessons in Randall Schroeder’s Simple Habits For Marital Happiness (ISBN: 978-1633571754) can help you have a strong, satisfying relationship. Schroeder teaches 90 lessons that span seven chapters. The seven chapters deal with the following themes: forgiveness, strengthening the martial bond through commitment and closeness, the importance of enhancing emotional and spiritual oneness, communication, protecting and “guarding” your relationship, respectful disagreement discussions and keeping the “bond of peace,” and financial harmony.

Each lesson can be read in roughly 5 minutes, so they can easily be woven into daily reading for couples to grow together. Even after reading through one time, readers will want to revisit the lessons again and again to develop healthy habits within their marriage. The lessons in chapter three, Habits That Promote Spiritual And Emotional Closeness, provide important foundational lessons. For example, it is important to pour into each on a daily basis. Each day, spouses should fill each other’s cups through respectful dialogue. Through pouring into one another’s cups, or pumping water into their water towers, it decreases tension and increases emotional closeness.

Emotional closeness is a large theme within the book. Emotional closeness is achieved through various words and actions including appreciation and public praise, “quick connects,” “date your mates,” laughing together (but never at each other’s expense), politeness, and healthy habits for communication, guarding your relationship, and financial harmony.

Despite the vast wisdom in the book, Schroeder acknowledges that several of his lessons may be hard to digest by couples or indiviudal spouses. One of such lessons, is that spouses should never have opposite-sex friends outside of other couples. The rationale behind it is that closeness with an opposite-sex friend may lead to unfaithful actions and adultery. What is your opinion on this topic?

Overall, Schroeder’s Simple Habits For Marital Happiness is a fantastic guidebook for couples and individuals looking to grow in their relationships. The book is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Check out the link below to order yourself a copy.

Link to purchase your own copy of Simple Habits for Marital Happiness: Practical Skills And Tools That Build A Strong Satisfying Relationship 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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