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Friday, October 23, 2015

An Interview with Author Ben Wolf

I’m stoked (I really hope you all get that vampire reference) to have the award-winning author Ben Wolf on my blog today. I’m a fan of his writing in general, and I have to tell you, his novel Blood for Blood is awesome. Please give Ben a warm welcome.

Yes, there is a giveaway! (Details at the bottom of the post.) And you can get Blood for Blood for 99 cents, but only for a limited time! This sale ends Saturday the 24th of October, so get your copy before the Halloween season (and this deal) ends.

Blood for Blood is the story of what might happen if a vampire got saved and tried to start living his life for God. 

 Me: Thank you so much for being here, Ben! Please tell us a bit about you. What do you like to do when you aren't writing? Are you a coffee or tea person? Do you have any children or pets?

Ben Wolf: Thanks so much for having me. I'm a bit nuts, but in a good way. I love watching action/adventure movies and TV shows, and I also take MMA classes at a local gym. I enjoy playing volleyball, sword-fighting, shooting friends with Nerf guns, and hearing myself talk, especially in front of large groups.

I prefer tea to coffee (I don't like coffee at all), but I don't drink tea very often either. I'm caffeine-free these days since I get too many withdrawal headaches when I do drink the caffeine and then don't follow up with more caffeine soon enough.

I've got two adorable kids, Liam and Violet. They're amazing. I also have a furry child named Marco. 

Me: What was the inspiration behind Blood for Blood?

Ben Wolf: I've always been a fan of vampires and their lore, but the story idea is actually one I stole (with permission) from a fellow writing friend. He was talking with me about how ironic it would be for a vampire to get saved and then have to endure life as a Christian among other Christians and their religious symbols, practices, etc. I loved the idea so much that I hijacked it and wrote the novel in the course of only a few months' time. 

Me: You recently won an award for Blood for Blood - tell us about that!

Ben Wolf: I was honored to win the Oregon Christian Writers 2015 Cascade Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel. I was up against some stiff competition, and I was thrilled just to be nominated, but I'm even more thrilled that I won. I really think it's a great book, and I'm happy to see it get some recognition. It's also validation that I should keep writing. 

Me: The character of Raven is unique and complex. How do you think people can relate to him? How do YOU relate to him?

Ben Wolf: I'm glad you think he's unique and complex. That's a huge compliment to me. 

I think people will relate to him in his uncertainty. I know I certainly do. Raven is uncertain about his new faith from the very beginning and throughout the entire book until almost the end. The moment he finally decides to really go for broke and surrender EVERYTHING to God is the key moment in his faith development.

I'm like that, only it's a daily struggle. I am constantly fighting against surrendering to God, even though I should do it and need do it. I think a lot of American Christians are like that as well. We tend to think that we've got it under control, and we'll just call on God when we get into a bind. But that's not what God wants. He wants an ongoing relationship, not one of convenience. I struggle with this personally, and I definitely can learn from Raven's story and character in this way. 
Me: If you could spend the day with one of the B4B characters, which would it be?

Ben Wolf: Oooh, tough one. I think I'd benefit the most from hanging out with Luco. My hope would be that he'd rub off on me in a good way. He could mentor me a bit in my faith. 

Me: What authors have influenced you the most?

Ben Wolf: Frank Peretti is responsible for me falling in love with reading and also for inspiring the desire within me to write. Robert Liparulo and Ted Dekker furthered that drive, and Randy Ingermanson and James Scott Bell both contributed a ton with their excellent work on teaching the craft of writing. More recently, Stephen King has become something of a favorite of mine. 

Me: What are you working on now? What's next for you?

Ben Wolf: I'm developing a sci-fi horror novel as we speak. I've got most of the basic outline done, and I'm set to begin working on it in November for NaNoWriMo. I have purposely given myself permission to write during that month, despite a busy freelance editing schedule. I'm hopeful that I can knock out a big chunk of the book, if not finish the first draft entirely. 

Me: I assume you’re dressing up for Halloween this year. Are you going as a vampire?

Ben Wolf: It's highly likely that I'll be going as Wolverine for Halloween this year. Gotta get some more mileage out of those claws. 

Thank you again for taking the time to be a guest on my blog today!

I know you want to know how win a signed copy of Blood for Blood AND two copies of Havok Magazine. All you have to do is sign up for Ben’s newsletter. Make sure you do it by 11:59 p.m. Saturday October 24th, 2015. Good luck!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Welcome Guest Authors Megan Linski and Natalie Erin

Today I have TWO new books to share with you. Yes, two. Both of these lovely novels are published through Gryfyn Publishing.
Check them out and like them on Facebook to learn more about these books and their upcoming releases!
Alora by Megan Linski

Alora Blurb: For hundreds of years, Alora has been queen. Ruling over the most remote regions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, she spends her summers riding upon a wild stallion, her winters as a winged wolf, never aging, forever at an eternal sixteen. 

This is what it means to be an Anmortal. 

Centuries pass until the arrival of something new in the woods, a small boy named August. Alora watches through the years as the child grows into a young man. Slowly she finds herself falling for him, unable to tame her wild heart. Madly in love, she ignores the fact that humans and Anmortals can never be together...a mortal cannot love a creature that lives forever. 

Distracted by romance, Alora doesn’t notice that there is a monster lurking in the shadows, a hunter who is determined to make Alora his prize. With no time left to run and no way out, Alora is about to make the most challenging decision of her life. What's more important...her true love, or her freedom?

Author Bio: Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she completed her first (short) novel at the age of 6. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for people aged 14-24. When not writing she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, theatre, archery, fishing, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder. She lives in Michigan.

So winged wolves? What’s up with that?

Wolves are my favorite animal, and I love anything with wings, so it only seemed natural to put them together. I see a lot of fantasy art of wolves with wings on different websites but have never seen a book about them, so I figured I’d write the first.

Can you tell us a little about your main character?

Alora is an immortal being (an Anmortal) who is a winged wolf in the winter and a young woman in the summer. She’s lived like this for thousands of years, and nothing for her has changed until a boy moves in nearby. Then it gets sort of tricky.

A love story, then?

A complicated one, haha. Things can be difficult for your relationship when one of you lives forever and the other one doesn’t, and the one who lives forever has to keep it a secret. 

Who’s your favorite character in the novel?

The Windcomer. He’s this giant metal beast that hunts down Anmortals, and since Alora is the last, she’s next on his list. He’s dangerous, but at the same time his personality is so alluring, you don’t realize you’re trapped until he has you.

Okay, it's clear you love fantasy. What's your favorite fantasy read?

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, no contest. It’s the book that actually inspired Alora.

All writers need fuel. Tell us what's your go to writing snack.

Usually I motivate myself with food. No eating until that chapter gets done! 
Horseback or Rowboat?

Horseback everytime.

Chocolate or vanilla? 

How about chocolate cake?

If you wrote a fan fic piece about any fantasy world, which would you choose?

I’ve written fan fic before, about Harry Potter and a couple of my favorite cartoons. It’s actually one of the ways I really improved in my writing and learned how to write a story properly.

If you could have a writing retreat somewhere, where would it be?

Northern Michigan. It’s the setting where Alora takes place, actually. When I’m visiting I feel like I could just write for hours nonstop. Things just seem magical up there.

Kiatana’s Journey by Natalie Erin

Kiatana’s Journey Blurb: Dragons fly, animals can speak and fairies rule over all in the realm they call the Lands, a place that is both beautiful and dangerous. Only one myth remains...Changers, beasts who can morph into any creature at will, and their Accompanies, the mysterious riders who command them.  Chaos begins when a Changer called Ionan and his Accompany Keota crash down from the sky. They are found by two orphan wolf pups searching for their mother, and the fairy Kiatana, owner of the Verinian Forest. Kiatana refuses to trust the handsome stranger, or believe the story about his troubled past, but she soon finds she has bigger problems as a plague begins to spread throughout her land, killing all in sight. With no option Kiatana heads out on a quest with Keota, Ionan, the two wolves and her trusty pegasus to find a cure before the forest is destroyed forever. But danger has a way of finding her, and Kiatana isn’t sure if she’ll survive the road ahead...

Author Bio: Natalie Erin is a young author specializing in the fantasy genre. The Creatures of the Lands series has been her life’s work since she completed the first draft of Kiatana’s Journey in 2008, and she has been madly writing ever since. She has a love for creatures of all shapes and sizes (mythical and real) and considered becoming a veterinarian before realizing that her true passion lied in writing. When not working on her next book, Natalie advocates for animal welfare and wildlife preservation. Even though she’s an adult, Natalie still believes in fairies.

Kiatana’s Journey is about a fairy who has to save her forest from a deadly illness. What are some of the problems she faces on her quest to find a cure?

Kiatana has to battle elves, climb mountains, solve riddles, and fight monsters to save her home. But I think the biggest problem is that she gets in her own way, and if she isn’t compromising herself then one of her friends are. All of the characters on this quest have internal demons, and they surface more frequently than most of them would like. 

Internal demons?

All of the characters have been damaged by the past in some way, and this has resulted in individual flaws that slow down the group as they travel. Lost love, a broken family, loneliness, grief, you name it and its there. Each of the characters try to ignore what’s happened to them, but what they find out is that to find a cure, they must confront their worst fears, and it’s never easy. 

Sounds like really heavy stuff. Is there any time for fun?

There’s nothing but humor in this novel. If someone’s not upset they’re making a joke. I think humor is one of the things that banded this group together in the first place.

You wrote this book in 2008. Why publish it now?

I think that this book took six years to perfect and get right. And I don’t believe that the time was wasted whatsoever. 

Friendship is one of the themes of the series. Are your friends like Kiatana’s?

My group from back when I was in high school resembled Kiatana’s so much. Now that I’m older I can’t say that too many of them have the same traits.

Animal sidekicks, love 'em or hate 'em? Do you have a favorite? 

LOVE THEM. In Kiatana’s Journey there’s nothing but animal sidekicks. The wolf pups, Lottie and Lilja, are like my children, but I have to say that the Changer Ionan’s my absolute favorite. He can transform into any creature, and he’s so intelligent. He’s never at a loss for words. 

Okay, it's time to divulge a deep secret about yourself: what's one thing you're afraid of?

I’M COMPLETELY FEARLESS!!! Except for cornfields. I don’t do cornfields. 

Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Halloween, because I can be disgusting and dress up to scare people. 

Tell us one of your favorite things about your story.

I enjoy how my characters interact. They’re not exactly bosom buddies. Kiatana’s group is a bunch of rag-tag outcasts who are forced to journey together to find a cure for a mysterious illness that no one knows about. They’re always either arguing, being really sarcastic, or saving each other’s lives. There’s no in between there. They’re the exact opposite of who you want to bet your life on, but unfortunately the creatures in my world have no option. It’s like being in the middle of a giant group of friends who stick together because as much as they hate to admit it, they need each other. 

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t accept your first draft for what it is. Seriously. My first draft of Kiatana’s Journey was the first book I ever wrote, and it was a complete disaster. There’s still things I shudder about when I remember that draft. Edit and revise! 


Monday, November 3, 2014

Pitch Wars: A Novel Idea

I'm lucky enough to be able to participate in Pitch Wars this year. I have an awesome mentor, I've met a bunch of other writers who are just as passionate as I am, and I feel like my writing has been validated. All in all, it's a great experience. And I love it.

My novel is a YA urban fantasy titled: WITCHER.

When seventeen-year-old Allie wishes she can talk to her deceased mother, becoming a ghost isn’t what she has in mind. But she accidentally unleashes a curse that's turning her into one. 

Cody, the one-handed boy next door, can save her by taking her place--and he's willing--but Allie can't bear to lose someone else she loves. 

But why did I write this particular novel?

The idea came from a question: What if a girl went witching for bodies and accidentally summoned the dead.

Do you know what water witching is? How about water dowsing? It's when you use a certain kind of rod, called a witching rod (or sometimes two, depending on the type you're using), to try and locate an underground water source. If you're really curious you can check it out

The thing is, you can witch for all kinds of things--including bodies. Because I've actually tried this, I thought it would be a fun story question. And it was, but not so much for my characters who actually summon the ghost. A ghost bent on vengeance. And she plans to get her vengeance by trading placing with Allie, and making her the ghost.

It's not the only reason I chose to write this book, though. I wanted to write a story about forgiveness. And most importantly, about looking into your scarred past and learning to forgive yourself.

This is part of a blog hop with other 2014 Pitch Wars participants. So share the love, and check out a behind-the-scenes look at these other great stories!

Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meet the Author: Nadine Brandes

I am so excited to welcome Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die, (one of my favorite books!) to my blog today. She graciously answered a bunch of questions, and I love how cheerful and down-to-earth she is.

So let's give her a warm welcome!


Nadine, tell us about yourself in four words.

Bookworm. Passionate. Wanderlust. Believer.


What inspired you to be an author?

I could try to break it down and say my grandparents and parents all thrived on storytelling (which they did), but to be honest…I was just born with a passion for words. “Being a writer” is synonymous with “being a human” to me. I have to write, otherwise I’m not fulfilling the role for which I was created.


What are three hobbies you like aside from reading?

Oooh, cruel question. But I shall rise above the challenge! I love playing board games, traveling (can that count as a hobby?) and playing the piano.


Okay, it must be known…what is your favorite dystopian book?

Well, the first dystopian book I read was The Hunger Games and it got me hooked (though I can’t say the same for the rest of the series), but my favorite would probably be Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. However, some people have argued that it’s not actually dystopian. Either way, it’s fantastic.


Tell us a little about your own book.

Imagine that you have a Clock on your bedside table that shows you exactly how long you have to live, down to the very second. In fact, everyone has a Clock like this. That’s what my book, A Time to Die is about. It starts with a seventeen-year-old girl who has one year left on her Clock and is trying to find purpose in her last year.


Any advice for aspiring writers?

Go to a writer’s conference! This is the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone who wants to grow in his or her writing craft. I know a lot of writers are introverts and that writing conferences can seem expensive or intimidating, but it’s the next step. Take it. Be brave!


Random fun:

Coffee or tea? Tea. Definitely tea.

Airplanes or boats? Probably airplanes, though both get me motion sick. I’d rather take a train. [grin]

Winter or summer? Pre-Christmas winter. After Christmas it’s not as enjoyable, but I’ll still take cold over hot any day. Fireplaces! Fuzzy socks! Hot tea! Baking!

If you could meet any author, who would it be? J. K. Rowling, hands down. She inspires me and I’d love to chat over coffee (meaning tea, lol) with her someday.


Thank you so much for having me!


About Nadine

Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she's not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel. You can find Nadine online at:

Her website             Facebook             Twitter             Pinterest


Book Blurb:

How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

Find A Time to Die on Amazon in e-book and paperback. This is book one in the "Out of Time" trilogy (subsequent volumes coming in 2015 and 2016).

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Time To Die Blog Hop

Today I'm part of a blog hop for this awesome, newly released Christian dystopian novel A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes.

In celebration of the new release, there is a GIVEAWAY! I know, right? I loved this book, and not only for the amazing story and characters I loved hanging out with. I loved how it made me think about using the time I have wisely. Here's what I mean:
How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.
But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall —— her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

For this blog hop I was asked to answer one question: How would you spend the last year of your life?

That's a tough question.

The first thing I would do is spend time with loved ones--family, friends, and God. Not the kind of time where I would hurry up and try to fit in every last thing I ever wanted to do with them, but the kind of time where I could just hang out. You know? Soaking up their presence. Be still, be me, and be in their company.

Like I said, this includes time with God. I would want to spend so much time with Him. And the number one thing I'd be asking is how He wanted me to spend the rest of my time. I would follow His path the best I could, wherever it leads.
A Time to Die blog hop
Then, I imagine, I'd have to get over the fears. Fear is a time waster. A time killer. I'd have to get over being afraid to die and leave those I love. I'd have to get over being afraid of trying and failing. And I'd have to get over being afraid of doing whatever it was God asked me to do. Because He tends to ask things of us that we really can't do alone. And I'd have to trust that He gave me enough time.

The next thing I'd do is write more. I'd write letters to everyone I love. I'd write my fiction books to the world and hope the messages they need to read would be clear in my characters' journeys. I'd write because I love it, it's the passion God gave me.

I wouldn't sleep much. Time is precious as it is. I imagine I'd try to spend as much time awake as humanly possible.

And I know this sounds so strange, but I would slow down to stop and smell the roses, count the blessings, and take joy in the simple things. This is hard for me (a huge planner!) to say. But it's the little, unrushed things in life that we often overlook when we're trying to make the most of our time. And maybe that's why time starts to fly so much.

To learn more about A Time to Die, you can connect with the author on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

And now it's time for that giveaway. Am I right?


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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