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Saturday, November 30, 2013

#31AuthorGiveaway Scavenger Hunt Begins!

For my part in this Christmas fun of giveaways, I am hosting Family Fiction and giving away free copies of Key of Living Fire to the winners. Here is a note from them:

Want to stay up on all news concerning your favorite Christian fiction authors? You should join our family!

No matter the genre—we’ve got you covered—from Amish to Contemporary, Speculative to Young Adult. FamilyFiction is an information hub of author interviews, news and updates. Stop by our site and sign up for our email newsletters. Our monthly magazines FamilyFiction and FamilyFiction Edge will keep you updated on the latest and greatest Christian fiction happenings.

Peruse author interviews, find your next great novel, or watch book trailer for upcoming releases all at

You can also stay current with us on Facebook and Twitter and participate in giveaways and contests!

First I want to thank Deidre at Family Fiction for participating in the 31 Author Giveaway and Scavenger Hunt, and thank author Brock Eastman for organizing this.

For all the readers that are on the hunt and want to win that iPad Mini, here is your next clue: "and Merry". For the next clue you must follow this link from Family Fiction.

Please follow the link to Family Fiction's site. Or if you've collected all the clues you can go HERE to enter the full mystery phrase and bring your scavenger hunt to a close.

Don't miss entering the giveaway for Donita K. Paul's book (in the blog post just previous to this one).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Giveaway! & Donita K. Paul discusses her new trilogy

I recently requested an interview with Donita K. Paul who is well respected for her Dragon Keeper Chronicles books. She has announced a new series and the concept was so unique that I just had to pose some questions to her.

Note: After you read the interview, please post a comment to be entered for the Christmas Giveaway!
Q: Lately the Christian fiction market has announced a couple new fantasy novels that are original in their concepts and well-written. Can you tell us what prompted you to write "One Realm Beyond" and what most excites you about this story?

Mrs. Paul: I’m always excited when I get to let my imagination loose. I’ve incorporated images from fantasy movies that I love. You want to know what they are? Stardust, Ella Enchanted. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Return to Oz, and Enchanted. Not that a reader would be able to pick something out of the book and trace it back to a movie, but when I watch something like those wonderful movies, sparks fly in my head. I’m visual so Pinterest is very good for me. I see pictures that make ideal portals, or stunning backdrops, or hint at character and personality. I think the thing that most excites me about this book is the changing relationship between Cantor and his dragon and between Cantor and Bixby.

As to what prompts me to write a particular story, it’s usually characters chattering inside my skull and never leaving me in peace.

Q: How long did it take you to write "One Realm Beyond"?

A: About a year. It usually takes me a year to write a fantasy. I can write a romance in two months and a picture book in about six weeks. But fantasies need time to brew in the pot. More interesting things bubble to the top if I allow time for the mixture to age. Also the sharp flavor of Christian fantasy needs to mellow. I hope my work is not didactic, and I think the time element has something to do with not coming across as proselytizing.

Q: Because you target the Christian fiction market, what is your response when people ask why you write fantasy?

A: I’ll let the greats say it for me.

G. K. Chesterton:
• Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

C.S. Lewis:
• Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
• Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.

Chesterton tells us that stories allow our imagination to conceive what we cannot physically see. In that abstract determination, we can also see how to remain upright in fighting of overwhelming obstacles.

Lewis tells us that through story we experience more than our everyday world and while engaging this literary world we discover attributes which are needed, such as courage, integrity, persistence, hope, compassion, and a host of other noble traits. Having plowed the field and planted these seeds, the story encourages our desert soul to bring forth a triumphant character.

And, Lewis also reminds us that truth can be represented in facts, (one plus one equals two) meaning is rooted in imagination (if I have one apple and you give me another, I have two apples to make an apple tart).

Q: You have become a household name with many readers. What components do you feel have made your writing career successful?

A: Well for one thing, I didn’t have anything to do but invest time in my career. The old adage
“Don’t quit your day job.” is sound advice. However, my day job kind of quit me. I had a crippling infection in my leg and couldn’t teach full time anymore, and then I couldn’t teach at all. So I was at home, driving my mother batty. (She lived with me and my two teens, or we lived with her.) She was used to having the house to herself all day. In order to protect her sanity, she ordered me to my room to write a book. I had always wanted to and now was my chance. Bless mothers! So years of being a Christian, years of reading, and obeying my mom opened the door to being an author.

Q: So many readers have loved your Dragon Keeper Chronicles. Are you finished with that storyworld, or is there a possibility you will revisit it in new books?

A: I’m afraid so. There are a couple of short stories on the website under Librettowit’s Library.
 I may write more of those, but I’ve met these other characters and we’re exploring a different world together. 

Many thanks to Mrs. Paul for answering the questions! You can learn much more about her and her books on her website 

Now, on to the Christmas giveaway. Two random comments will be selected by a random generator on the internet, and those two individuals will win one of these two items from Mrs. Paul:
1st Prize: a copy of "Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball" 

2nd Prize: a fairytale necklace (if a guy wins he can give it to a girl as a Christmas gift!)
I will announce the giveaway winners Saturday December 7th. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 18, 2013

31 Authors and an iPad Mini giveaway!

Christmas is coming! and fellow author Brock Eastman has engineered a scavenger hunt and giveaway. Details below:

Welcome to the 31 Author Scavenger Hunt. Let’s cut to the chase. The rumors are true, you could win an iPad Mini and 31 books from your favorite authors. What did I just read? Well let me explain.
31 Authors have teamed up to provide tons of awesome prizes just in time for Christmas. There are many ways to win something. First the #31AuthorHunt. This is the big one. There are three prize packages:
Grand Prize: an iPad Mini and 31 Books (one from each of the authors)
2nd and 3rd Prizes: 31 Books (one from each of the authors)
Plus some if not all of the Author Stops will have some sort of giveaway, signed books, giftcards, gift baskets, or maybe even your name in one of their books. Who knows, but here it goes.
So get ready and mark the date 11/30 on your calendar. That’s when it all begins. One week, 31 Authors, lots of prizes! Be sure to share the love with your friends and family.
Download the Christmas Tree image and make it your facebook profile image to show your support.
See below for a list of the amazing assortment of authors you’ll learn about and who want you to win their books. Here’s who you can expect:
Brock Eastman, Alexander Marestaing, Karen Whiting, Nancy I. Sanders, Simonetta Carr, Donita K. Paul, LB Graham, Robert Treskillard, Douglas Bond, Morgan Busse, Rachel Starr Thomson, Serena Chase, Jenelle Schmidt, Amy Green, Chris Miller, Jonathan Friesen, RJ larson, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Shannon Dittemore, Kerry Nietz, Jill Williamson, C.A. Beninati, J. L. Mbewe, Matt Mikalatos, DJ Edwardson, Robert Liparulo, Ronie Kendig, Heather Burch, James L. Rubart, Evan Angler, Scott Appleton, and we’re joined by Family Fiction.
A list of websites with links will be coming soon. Get started now by facebook posting, tweeting, or pinning the below text with the Christmas Tree image above:
Warm Fire. Free #Books. #Free #iPadMini. You could win by joining the #31AuthorHunt. Sorry Warm Fire not included.

Friday, November 8, 2013

An Interview with Debut Fantasy Novelist "Just B. Jordan"

Always on the lookout for a good fantasy book to read (for I consider myself a picky reader) Marcher Lord Press's feature on their new release caught my eye instantly. Never To Live by debut author Just B. Jordan (yep, a pen name, but we'll learn about that in the interview). First, here is a blurb for her novel to whet your appetites:

Imprisoned, Elwyn endures torture so horrific she drives herself insane to elude true madness. 

When she finally escapes, unless her broken mind is playing another cruel trick, she discovers she is turning into the monster she despises most of all.

If you love a good fantasy story, folks, you have got to try this one. I got the Kindle sample and now I am hooked. I am going to purchase a copy for my bookshelf.

I contacted the authoress, Jordan, and she graciously answered my interview questions. Here is the interview:

Thank you for taking my questions today! I found your novel Never to Live on Marcher Lord Press's website and my first thought was "Wow! A Christian Fantasy novel with a great cover that catches my eye!" I immediately downloaded the Kindle sample onto my iPad. Commendably, your prose is very solid and the story feels original rather than pieced together from well-known novels.

Q: What inspired you to write this story? And how long did it take you to finish the manuscript?
A: Initially it started with a scene in my head that I couldn't get off my mind, and it grew from there. I had always thought a lot about the bad life stories I heard others share and how it took forever for them to realize they didn't have to let their past shape them. Those stories stayed with me. I found myself writing that type of story into my world; a character who was told she was horrible and had horrible life experiences, yet she wanted to be something different than what she was told she would be and already was. Originally I thought this story was going to be very different from the story it became. While I was writing it, the song "Set Me Free" by Casting Crowns became some of the inspiration that shifted it to what it is now. As time went on I even started thinking of it as Never To Live's theme song.
The manuscript was finished about two and a half years after I started it. I only dabbled around with it in that first year. Most of it was written in the second year, and it was finished up in the months after that.

Q: Would you like Never to Live to be a stand-alone novel, or the beginning of a series?
A: I hope for it to be a series. I have ideas for at least 7-8 other books in this series circling around in my head. We’ll see where it goes.

Q: Why write fantasy? Did you read fantasy novels as you were growing up?
A: Actually, what I read most of growing up was historical fiction and classical literature. The fantasy novels I did read stuck with me though. I almost became obsessed with some of them. I think the reason I chose to write fantasy was because it can be so magical and unreal, and there are no boundaries to what a story can be or where it can go. The possibilities are endless. I like that.
Q: Now, the other thing that caught my eye about you was the pen name that you chose. Do you mind revealing what led to the decision to use a pen name?
A: From the time I started writing I knew I wanted to use a pen name. I didn't like the idea of my real name floating around in cyber space, I guess. I also wanted a name that would catch people’s attention and that would (hopefully) be remembered. Sadly my real name isn't very memorable, so a pen name was the way to go. I knew I still wanted to incorporate my first and middle name into it, though. One morning my mom hunted me down and said that she had woken up in the middle of the night with an idea: Just B. Jordan. (I had always been worried about being myself around people, so my mom would say “Just be Jordan!”)  The pen name uses my real name and my middle initial “B”, so I feel like it is still my name, with a twist. :) I thought it was a little odd for a pen name at first but it quickly grew on me. And it stuck.
Q: Do you plan to make writing your career?
A: I certainly hope so. :)

Q: Marcher Lord Press has been established as one of the go-to markets for Christian speculative fiction. Did you initially intend to seek out publication there? Tell us a little about your journey from writer to published author.
A: Originally my plan was to self-publish my novel. I knew my manuscript wasn't anywhere near being publishable yet, so I began looking to hire a freelance editor. I looked up lists of recommended editors and rifled through their websites. Among the dominating swarms of romance editors I found a link to Where The Map Ends. I read through some pages on the website and noticed that this guy also ran his own publishing company. I thought that was cool, but I didn't give it much thought. I was still planning on self-publishing my book. I hired Jeff for a 4 page editorial review. He came back with 17 pages and an offer for a publishing contract. At first I was going to decline the offer. I was pretty set on self-publishing. But then my gut intervened and I knew becoming a MLP author was what I should do. So here I am.
Q: What is your favorite novel (that you have read of course!)?
A: Oh dear. That's always a question I dread. I have way too many favorites! But I think I have to say it's Just David by Eleanor H. Porter. It's not a well known story and it's not a fantasy, but that book is connected to a lot of good memories for me.
Q: I have to ask the question that everyone is probably curious about: What other books are you working on that are 'in the pipeline' so to speak?
A: I have started working on a book that's in the same series as Never To Live. The MC in this one is the character named Jasper in Never To Live. His story isn’t quite what people might expect it to be. I'm really happy with how it’s turning out so far.

Author's Website:
Publisher's Website:

Facebook Fanpage:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Diminished Christianity

I wanted to write a note of spiritual encouragement:

There are so many religions in the world and such confusion on what is morally right and wrong. Many young people of my generation have embraced the lies of the world. I find this sad, especially because we live in a time when a plethora of information is available to those who are willing to research and study out the philosophies we are encountering.

Jesus Christ is the stone over which which everyone stumbles. A short time ago I had a religious discussion with people at work. Represented were the Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, and Muslim faiths, as well as an agnostic. Everyone united on certain points, but as soon as I expressed conviction that everyone must accept Christ or suffer eternal damnation I was roundly rebuked by the other faiths.

The civilized western world grew out of the faiths that sprang from Abraham's sons. But if you accept the truth of Christ you can't avoid the fact that there is only one way to enter God's rest, and that requires repentance and faith in Christ. This is offensive to other faiths. They turn and look at us Christians with disgust. If you hold to the truth in the public workplace I am certain you know what I mean because you, too, have been in those conversations with coworkers.

But too many of us get wrapped up in the arguments as to "how we know the Bible is true" and "how we can prove it."

All we need prove is Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul stated, without the resurrection our faith is vain. The resurrection is a validated historical event, thus proving Christ's deity, which proves the authority of his teachings, and when his teachings are proven valid then the sources he referenced are valid (namely the laws of Moses the teachings of the prophets).

It is all so simple, so why is it so hard?

We are sinners and finite human beings. We don't want to accept full accountability to a holy and righteous God who must have vengeance on the wicked. And it is not our definition of wickedness that matters, it is his. He is the authority.

My advice: ignore the push for psychology and instead look for wisdom. People are hung up on the way that people are born. Well, we know that we are all born into a sinful world and we all fall into it, but we don't have to be casualties in this spiritual war. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling."

The Devil is alive and well, Christian. (Yes, he is). But I am guilty of neglecting that facts. He is the prince of this world, working constantly to deceive us.
Truth does not relate to the way we feel about it. It is true whether we want it to be or not.

So let's not be discouraged or go on the defensive. Remember who the enemy is. It is not the people we encounter. Our enemy is not fleshly, but spiritual.


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.