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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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Writer's World Blog Tour

Hey all! I'd like to introduce you to a couple of wonderful writers I know.
First up is Scott Abel. He's one of my amazing critique partners.

In addition to several short stories, he's the author of the YA paranormal romance and supernatural suspense novel, Sunrise, for which he's currently seeking publication. Works in progress include a sequel to Sunrise entitled False Light, and a commercial fiction novel for adults entitled, The Promise Keeper.

Scott is a former high school football coach and collegiate athletics administrator. Law school graduate--even though he doesn't practice law, it was definitely worth it since law school is where he met his wife. He's a football fanatic, but has a passion for all things sports-related. Grew up a PK--his dad is a retired United Methodist minister. He lives in the suburbs of Austin with his wife and two daughters who enthusiastically assist him in his search for the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

You can learn more about Scott and his writing at his blog.
Fun thing about this blog is that I get to answer a few questions about my writing. I was asked to answer four questions:

1. What are you working on?
I'm currently working on book two for my recently contracted novel Children of the Blood Moon. Book one is about a dagger-wielding orphan who has to save the race of people known as the Feravolk. But there's no way she's going to help them; they killed her family.
2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
This YA fantasy is set in a medieval setting, which I'm not seeing a lot of today. My characters who were born with special talents that may or may not be useful for fighting the sorceress queen they must go up against--talents like detecting storms or reading people's emotions. Book one is about a young woman who's afraid to love because the loss of loved ones made her feel helpless before. And she never wants to be helpless again. 
3. Why do you write what you do?
I love fantasy. All of it. I'm also writing a ghost story right now, and a superhero story, oh and a story about Phoenixes. I also love YA. I remember what it's like to escape into a story and I want teens (and adults who want to stay young, like me) to be able to escape into the stories I write.
4. How does your writing process work? 
I get an idea and write it down. Then I make a rough outline of the important points like the end, the turning point, and the beginning, of course. And then I get to know my characters. What are they like? What do they do? What are their hopes and dreams? What do they want most in life, and why can't they have it?

Once I know them, and I know how my story starts and ends, I start writing. My characters have a way of making choices I didn't see coming that develops the plot as the story progresses. Once that's all down on paper, I get to revise everything--add new twists and turns and take out the scenes that just weren't working--and then I edit. I find editing fun because I get to pick and choose the right words and tighten up all my sentences so the words disappear and we're left with just the reader and the story. And maybe a bowl of popcorn, or hardtack if it's medieval.

So now that you know a little bit about me and my story, it's time to introduce the next writer on this tour. The lovely Lisa Godfrees.

Former forensic scientist turned seminary student turned stay-at-home mom turned writer, Lisa Godfrees is living the dream. A native Texan, Lisa knows there are only two real seasons: summer and sprall (spring/fall). Lisa enjoys digging into the Bible to learn more about God (she calls it "theology) and is passionate about writing and reading young adult speculative fiction.
Her goal is to put a new spin on Bible stories that get people, especially youth, interested in reading the Bible.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Guest Post from Author Janalyn Voigt

Please give a warm welcome to guest author, Janalyn Voigt. Her novel, Wayfarer, book two of Tales of Faeraven, releases today, and we're lucky enough to get a glimpse of this marvelous world through the author's eyes.

Special Offer for Today Only (January 3rd, 2014):

In celebration of the release of Wayfarer, book two in Janalyn Voigt’s Tales of Faeraven trilogy, her publisher is offering her book at a 50% discount. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

An Accidental Meeting (by an Author with a Character)

By Janalyn Voigt

What’s that?

It’s strange to meet anyone else on this forgotten track through the woodland tangle, but I swear something moved alongside that stream just ahead.  I strain to see, freeing one arm from my book bag, in case I need to run. Those few who have survived an attack by one of the jaggercats or shaycats that prowl the deep woods always say they never saw or heard a thing, and this creature casts too small a shadow over the water to be a bruin. It’s probably no more than an elk or deer, poised to run at my approach, but a woman traveling alone and so far off the beaten path can’t be too careful. There’s something about this dark forest that sets my nerves on edge, as if the trees whisper secrets.

An unexpected sound floats on the air, and almost I can’t take it in, so out of place is the scrap of melody. I know the ancient lay it belongs to but can’t name it. Fixating on this smaller puzzle postpones the greater one of why a maiden would be singing in such a place. That the sound comes from a maiden is clear. If I hadn’t guessed it from the sweet purity of her voice, I would know it from the sight of her, for she’s moved into my line of sight. The hood of her cloak has fallen back, and as she bends over a patch of pale flowers nodding on the bank, her unbound hair sways about her. It is thick and black, untouched by gray.

Perhaps the song on her lips kept her from noticing me sooner, but all at once she lifts her head and stares at me, not unlike the frightened doe I mistook her for. Her eyes are the vivid blue of the sky, their gaze without guile.

I pull a shaky breath into my lungs. “Well met.” My voice is too jovial, but then relief has made my head light. Politeness prevents me from asking why she’s gathering flowers so far from safety and alone, but of course I’m wondering.

She rises with slow grace, and the soft light filtering through the trees touches a face I recognize. Although Aewen wears a simple tunic, the wild bouquet she clutches makes her look like an elven bride. “You startled me.”

I laugh. “We’re even, then.”

“Even? Do you mean we’re of a height?” Her brow puckers.

“Paid back.”

She stares at me as if I have taken leave of my wits. “Is there some debt of which I’m unaware?”

“No. I’m sorry to confuse you.” Of course, she would not understand my modern lingo. This is Elderland, a world I should know well, for I discovered it in my writings. I have stepped into time at the beginning of Aewen’s story, which I have recorded in the pages of Wayfarer, book two of Tales of Faeraven. “Are you gathering herbs to heal the poor?”

Her eyes widen. “How do you know this?”

“Just a guess. Do your parents know where you are?” It’s not really fair to ask her this, since I already know her parents don’t trouble themselves on her account—at least they don’t yet—but she’s looking at me with suspicion and I want to throw her off.

“I’ll not be looked for at Cobbleford Castle until evening.” Her brows draw together. “Forgive me, but why do you wear a man’s garb? And by what strange weaving is your satchel made?”
Obviously I’ve not succeeded in distracting her. I’m wearing jeans and a long top that could pass for a jerkin. “I’m not from these parts. This is how we dress in my land.”

“What brings you here?”

That’s a question I’ve asked myself, one with answers only another writer can understand. I smile a little and speak the simple truth. “I couldn’t stay away.”

As her eyes narrow, I step backward, ready to return through my computer into my closet writing office.  Most often when I visit Elderland, no one notices me. Really, I prefer that.

About Janalyn Voigt

As children, my older brother and I would beg my father for bedtime stories, and he would give them.  His deep voice rumbled against my ear at his chest as he unfolded stories of exotic places like Oz and Neverland. My imagination carried on with the tales even after he closed the book for the night. When eventually he stopped reading stories, I began creating my own. 

Within a few years I’d become storyteller of my neighborhood. The other children would gather in a circle on our lawn while I invented stories to entertain them. No one, including myself, thought of this as anything unusual. It wasn’t until my sixth-grade teacher pointed out my ability to spin a tale that I and my parents took note. This is how at the age of twelve I decided to become a novelist. At it turns out, the fulfillment of that dream took a few more years than planned. 

Find out more about Janalyn, her closet writing office, and her books at the author website for Janalyn Voigt.

DawnSinger: A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?

WayFarer: When an untried youth ascends to the high throne of Faeraven, his mistakes tear kingdoms apart and allow just one chance at redemption. He must humble himself before the man he banished.

To view a book trailer of Wayfarer click here 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Advice from a NaNo WriMo loser.

It’s that time of the year again when we all hunker down with the leftover Halloween candy and sit in front of our computers typing away madly (and resisting the urge to hit backspace because it will take away from that coveted 50k word count).

And I have to ask, is it worth it?

I’ve participated in NaNo three times now, and I’ve never once made the 50k word goal. I don’t think that makes me a bad person for a pep talk though, so just hang around for a moment.

There are a few big reasons that I hear people not getting involved in NaNo. I’m here to refute them and tell you that you—oh person who lacks super powers and extra hours in a day—can do this.

Big excuse number one: No time.

No time to what? Write? If you want to be a writer, I’ve got to tell you something: Being a writer doesn’t work if you don’t write. There’s a solution for that. Write. Make time. Put down the candy crush, give up an hour of sleep, let the dishes sit for twenty more minutes—just do it.

Big excuse number two: Too much pressure.

Yes, I’ve heard this. NaNo is too much pressure? I hear you! That’s why I’ve decided I don’t care about the word count. I only care about renewing the vows of my habit to sit down six days a week and work on writing.

Through the year other things creep in—taking care of my family, cleaning my house, going to work, bringing work home (now that’s a whole ‘nother topic). And if we aren’t careful, all these things encroach on our writing. Stifle it.

If writing is important to you, make it a priority.

NaNo is an opportunity for me to stay active in the career path I want to take. It makes me sit down and do what I love. It makes me discipline myself so I use all of my time more wisely. And hey, they say doing something for twenty-one days makes it a habit. I want writing to be a habit.

Big excuse number three: I won’t win.

Well, let’s not whine about it.

I know, losing is hard. But does NaNo really have losers? I mean, it’s not like it’s a hockey game. This is writing. I “lost” NaNo twice. Both times my word counts were above 40k words.
Yeah! 40k words and new story ideas that I didn’t have a month prior. Did I finish those novels? Yup. Are they more than 50k words? Yup.

So, yeah, I lost. But I don’t care, because the prize I walked away with was worth it. What prize? There are prizes for losers? Yeah. You get what you put in. So I walked away with half a story written, better writing discipline, and because I didn’t let the pressure get to me, I walked away having had fun. That’s right. Fun. If you don’t have fun, you’re not participating effectively. Also, if you’re not working hard, you’re not participating effectively.

So get out there, have fun, work hard, and write! No more excuses. You can do this.
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