There’s Another World Out There

Vintage reads

Women’s rights. Poverty. Art. Non-western culture. Microfinance.

All the above topics can be found in a book written for girls ages eight to ten. “Sounds ambitious,” you might comment. Yes, and Mitali Perkins meets those ambitions with great success. I can’t call it a “Vintage Read.” It’s only going on ten years old, but I thought I’d let the teacher in me come out for today’s topic. Mitali Perkins


Rickshaw Girl is set in Bangladesh in modern times. Naima is around ten years old, the daughter of a rickshaw driver. She is forced to leave school since her parents can’t pay fees for more than one child. Now, it’s her younger sister’s turn. Naima has tremendous artistic talent, but what good is that? As a female, she never expects to get a job much less be able to use her talent.

From that premise, Naima gets herself into a few scrapes as she bungles her efforts to contribute to family finances. From facing down the prejudice of boys her own age to learning about the possibilities of borrowing from a “bank” for women who want to start a business, Perkins teaches these concepts with a vocabulary that young readers can understand. Central to Naima’s story is her talent for creating alpanas, beautiful geometrical and floral designs painted in rich colors.

Alpana design. Photo by Sanjay K Ram (2007) on Flickr

Alpana design. Photo by Sanjay K Ram (2007) on Flickr

Rickshaw Girl may be better introduced through assigned reading in schools or homeschools.  My granddaughter, who devours all books on fantasy and princesses, didn’t show much interest when I showed her the cover of Rickshaw Girl.

However, just as we don’t feed our children entire meals of rich desserts, we should add more than one genre to their reading diet. I insisted that my children eat their meat and vegetables, and when I next see my granddaughter, we’re going to read this book together. Who knows? Rickshaw Girl may spark Hannah’s interest in other cultures, leading her to missions work or philanthropic projects for those in need.

Microfinance Women photo credit to

Microfinance Women photo credit to

When I was a child, I didn’t like books written in diary form. Still don’t, as a general rule, but if someone hadn’t forced me to read a journal written during World War II by some girl in Holland, I might never have discovered my passion for Holocaust history.

A free copy of Rickshaw Girl to the first person who tells me the identity of that girl in Holland.

Kerry Nietz’s first last book

Kerry Nietz is no stranger to our blog. He originally signed our slam book back in 2013 when the first of his Peril in Plain Space novels, Amish Vampires in Space, released. He was back last year to discuss Amish Zombies from Space. Now, he’s guest posting for us and brings with him two gifts: one for readers and the other for writers.

For readers: A Star Curiously Singing is free for a limited time. Grab this one while you can. It’s one of my favorite books!

For writers: Kerry gives us the gift of encouragement with this guest post. Since I’m in the querying process, it’s a timely gift for me. Perhaps it’s a timely gift for you as well. 🙂

This was supposed to be my last novel.


foxtalesIn the fall of 2003 my first book—a memoir entitled FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software—was published, and I hoped it would smooth the road for me to become a published novelist. Anyone familiar with the publishing business knows that few first books (or second books, or third books) breakout enough for a writer to have publishers knocking on their door. Few books, in fact, sell more than a couple hundred copies. But alas, I was both naïve and optimistic.

Over the course of the next five years I wrote a handful of novels, corrected them, and queried publishers about them. I had a few nibbles, but ultimately nothing happened. I’d written a lot of words, but none of them were going anywhere.

By the winter of 2007, I’d reached the conclusion that my dream of being a novelist wasn’t going to happen. I’d tried a lot, learned a lot, but the road now looked like an unplowed field.

Still, I had this story idea about a computer programmer of the future. I also wanted to experiment with writing an entire novel in first person present tense. I’d written the prologue of FoxTales that way and wondered whether I could maintain it for an entire novel.

I decided I’d write one last story…for me. I didn’t care if anyone ever read it. I didn’t care if I even corrected it or queried about it. I was simply going to write it for my own enjoyment. Then quit.

So, while waiting in an airport one day, I pulled out my laptop, created a new document, and wrote:

It is hard to describe, this buzzing in my head. It wakes me, obviously. But it is hard to clarify for someone like you—at least the type of person I assume you to be—someone with a free head.

Almost fifty thousand words later I had a first draft. I read it over. I knew it wasn’t perfect. I knew it was a little short. Yet there was something about the book, tentatively titled 2000 AP, that I thought was truly unique. I decided to find a second opinion.

I knew of a guy, Jeff Gerke, who had just started his own publishing house. I knew he also worked as a freelance editor. One of his editorial services was a complete read through of a manuscript along with an opinion as to whether it was publishable. I hired him to perform that service with 2000 AP in the spring of 2008.

Months went by.

Finally, in the fall of 2008 he sent me a message. “I’m reading it now. I love it.”

He concluded that the book needed a better beginning, a revised ending, and a handful of other changes. “If it had all those things,” he said, “I would publish it myself.”

I spent the better part of a year making those additions, and in the fall of 2009 the book, now titled A Star Curiously Singing was published. My first last novel. There have been five last novels since.

 About A Star Curiously Singing

** Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner **

Sandfly is a debugger. He is property, bought and paid for in an Earth under sharia law. All faiths but one have been banned. And the rule of the great Imam is supreme.

As a debugger, Sandfly has an implant in his head that connects him to the world’s technology–and doles out mental shocks to keep him obedient. All he wants is to fix bots and avoid shocks.

Now he’s been called into Earth orbit. The masters have a new spacecraft–one capable of interstellar flight. On its maiden voyage, the only robot on board went mad and tore itself apart.

Why? Better question: does it pose any risk to humans?

When Sandfly reviews the bot’s final moments, he perceives something unexpected. Something impossible.

As Sandfly pieces together the clues, a trap spreads beneath his feet. If he solves the mystery, he may doom himself. And if he fixes the robot, he may shatter his world.

Suspenseful, unique, and awash in cyberpunk jive, A Star Curiously Singing presents a bleak future that might be closer than we think.


NOW YOU: Are you a reader or a writer? What are you reading/writing now?


Special Notice: Goodreads Giveaway

If you’ve wanted to read the second novel of the Bird Face series, 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, now’s your chance! Author and Scriblerian Cynthia Toney is hosting a giveaway of a signed print copy on This giveaway is open to addresses in the U.S. and Canada.

You don’t necessarily have to read the first novel, 8 Notes to a Nobody, to understand the second. If you’d prefer to read the books in order, look for an announcement soon about how to acquire a free Kindle version of 8 Notes to a Nobody.

If you are not a member of Goodreads, here are some reasons to join–and these are only a few!

  • It doesn’t cost a thing.
  • It’s a great place to find out about books with topics or themes you’re interested in.
  • It’s a great place to meet authors, writers, and readers with similar interests.
  • You can keep track of books you’ve read and want to read.
  • You can rate or review books and see other members’ ratings and reviews.
  • You can recommend books to friends and receive recommendations.
  • You can be notified of giveaways for books on your to-read list.
  • You can search for giveaways and enter them.

So, what are you waiting for? Someone will win, and it could be you!

Goodreads Giveaway of 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status

10 steps

Christa Kinde’s Alter Ego Tells All . . . and a chance to win an autographed, beautifully-illustrated book and an e-book as well!

Today, we have a very special guest, Christa Kinde (KIN-dee), prolific author of fairy tales, epic adventures, comic misadventures, light and sweet romance, clever allegories, whimsical fantasies, far-flung journeys, knotty mysteries, and more.

Christa, thanks for posting in The Scriblerians ‘visiting author’ slam book:

Nicknames: Marmee, CJ, codename “Sugar Daddy” (my husband is “Nacho Mama”)
Genre: Fantasy & Christian Speculative Fiction
Personal Philosophy: “Be brave and do your best.”
Fave Scripture: “Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.” –Micah 6:8
Fave Quote: “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” –C. S. Lewis
In high school, I was a… voracious bookworm with lamentable social skills and a formidable vocabulary.

Christa we’re delighted you joined us today to talk about the Galleries of Stone series. After publishing so many successful books, why did you write this trilogy under the nom deplume C. J. Milbrandt?

The books I’ve written as Christa Kinde—both fiction and nonfiction—belong solidly in the Christian market. When I approached my publisher about doing a fantasy series, they advised me to abandon the plan. It didn’t fit my author brand. So I shelved a short stack of magic-laced manuscripts and focused on the angels and demons in my Threshold Series.

But I began quietly investigating my indie options. Maybe it’s because I’m a “from scratch” kind of gal, but I love managing the creative process from start to finish. So my family-friendly fantasy is published under my maiden name—C. J. Milbrandt.

And all of us are very glad you made the decision to follow your dream! I recently read Rakefang, the riveting third book of the Galleries of Stone, and I found it very hard to put down each night. What is your inspiration for such diverse stories?

Story ideas aren’t hard to come by. It’s near impossible to avoid the pesky things. Their ambushes throw my imagination into a tizzy and make me wish I could type faster.

However, Galleries of Stone trilogy is a special case. The story began as a personal challenge. For one year, I used an online dictionary’s “word of the day” as inspiration for my daily installment. On January 1, all I knew for sure was that the Keeper of the Gray Mountain was a banished Pred—a sheep in wolf’s clothing. And that Tupper Meadowsweet, his new Flox servant, was either brave, dense, or brilliant.

With each day’s addition, new complexities unfolded. I built the world to suit the story’s needs, making new discoveries right along with Tupper. By December 31, I had 366 chapters (2012 was a leap year) and more than 300,000 words. After some minor edits and a few additions, I released Galleries of Stone as a trilogy: Book One: Meadowsweet (2013), Book Two: Harrow (2014) and Book Three: Rakefang (2015).

Your target audience is tweens/teens, yet I’m also drawn to the delicately entwined layers of allegory and symbolism. What do you hope readers—of all ages—will take away from your books? 

I’ve often wished that books could be rated “E for Everyone.” I write what I enjoy reading—adventures with action, a surprising turn of events, a hint of mystery, and a smidgen of romance. If only “heart-warming” was a genre.

Takeaways? Hmm. The three highest compliments my stories have received are laughter, tears, and a warmly-expressed intention to re-read. I want folks to come away from a book feeling that they know the characters. Let’s add joy over the journey they’ve just taken. Satisfaction in its resolution. Anticipation for what’s to come. And with each successive title, a deepening trust in the storyteller.

Well, I for one am hooked because I’ve already started re-reading them. One of the things I like is that Galleries of Stone and your other series immerse readers into the heart of a rich story world, where customs, culture, and relationships unfold in a natural way (and I’d be remiss to not mention that the covers and chapter headings are like works of art). Can you tell us more about how you develop such detailed, fantasy worlds?

Over the course of the trilogy, I invented multiple cultures. Pred are vicious conquerors with an elitist mindset. Grif add a showman’s flourish to all they do. Drom are cantankerous plodders with a passion for spice and melons. Clow honor their tribal ancestry. Fwan are gentle lovers of beauty, but brutally superstitious. It’s a vast and varied world.

By contrast, Tupper’s whole life is bound up in one small village. He didn’t know there were other races of men. He’d never heard of magic. He had no concept of an ocean, let alone distant continents. But when confronted with a wider world, Tupper rolls up his sleeves and chips away at racial barriers. He adapts and adopts new ways of thinking, seeing, and doing. Frey’s “lambkin” makes a big difference in small ways.

Yes, he does. Tupper is one of my favorite characters.  In the Galleries of Stone series, which character is most like you and why? 

There’s a little bit of me sprinkled throughout the trilogy—attitudes, insights, bits of advice, turns of phrase. The strongest resemblances would likely be Carden’s love of family, Freydolf’s restlessness to create, and Aurelius’s formidable vocabulary. 

If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would it be and what would you do together?

I wish I had the courage to say Aurelius, but he scares me. So Freydolf. And since the Keeper can’t stray far from his mountain, I’d ask for a tour of the Statuary.

I, too, would like a tour of the statuary and the magical figures the Keeper carefully reveals within the stone! The mountain is a place that came alive for me through your writing!

Christa, thank you for coming on The Scriblerians to talk to our readers! I’ve listed her contact info below. Her websites and blogs are a wonderful world of sample chapters, beautiful artwork, and behind the scenes info on your favorite stories. Check it out!

Continue reading below for a sample chapter from the first book of the Galleries of Stone Trilogy and a chance to win an autographed, beautifully-illustrated book and an e-book as well!

Christa Kinde
Twitter – @ChristaKinde

C.J. Milbrandt
Galleries of Stone on Facebook
Byways on Facebook
Twitter – @Elymnifoquent

Christa’s books are available here:
Christa Kinde on Amazon – C. J. Milbrandt on Amazon –

Galleries of Stone Trilogy

Galleries of Stone Trilogy



Excerpt from Galleries of Stone, Book 1: Meadowsweet

With a flurry of silk and sulk, Aurelius burst into the workshop and demanded, “Have you seen the sprat?”

Freydolf glanced over the top of the golden stone he was marking and inquired, “Recently?”

“Since breakfast,” his brother-in-law clarified.

“I’ve been a little distracted.”

“And I’m being driven to distraction! Do you know how much work is waiting?”

“Yes and no,” Freydolf replied vaguely. “I usually leave such things to you.”

Aurelius rolled his eyes. “Very trusting of you, but I thought we’d agreed that you’d be entrusting your pet to me for the duration.”


“So you haven’t seen him?” Aurelius prodded.

“Maybe he’s hiding from you.” Giving the other man a stern look, he added, “You could have been more polite at breakfast.”

“I was!” he insisted. “For me.”

Freydolf snorted and said, “If you don’t bridle your tongue, you’ll never win the lad over.”

“I’ll bridle my tongue when you collar your pet,” Aurelius muttered. “He’d be easier to find if you kept him on a leash.”

“Have you tried behind the rimbles in the upper loggia?”

The other Pred blinked. “The what in the where?”

“In the upper loggia,” Freydolf patiently repeated. After offering a convoluted set of directions to the tucked-away spot, he remarked, “It’s pleasant there, especially in summertime.”

Aurelius stared dubiously at his brother-in-law. “Do you really expect me to believe that I’ll find him way up there?”

“Not really,” Freydolf admitted, turning his attention back to the stone and making a sweeping chalk line along its side. With a growl, Aurelius exited the workshop, and Freydolf looked down at the boy sitting on the floor between his feet and winked broadly.

Tupper’s eyes shone with gratitude, admiration, and the rare delight of a shared secret. He was quite sure that his Pred was bigger and better than any other.

–End of excerpt–

Dear readers, we would love to hear from you. Tell us which book of the Galleries of Stone you’d like to win, or ask Christa a burning question you’ve always wanted to know about the fantastic realms she creates, or simply leave your thoughts on today’s post!  

One lucky commenter will win The Blue Door from Christa’s Threshold series and another lucky commenter will win an e-book of choice from the Galleries of Stone trilogy.

(if you have technical problems leaving a comment, scroll up and click on the blog title; the comment form will then appear at the bottom!)


Why buy it if you can get if for free?

cow and book

You’ve heard the old saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Generally, it’s used as a metaphor to argue for abstinence before marriage–something along the lines of, “if a boy is getting sex from you, then why would he marry you?” If that’s the subject you’re interested in, then you need to join the thousands of people who read Beth Steury’s blog about abstinence and renewed abstinence because sex is not what I’m here to talk about today. Nor cows. Nor milk.

I’m talking about books.

So far in 2015, I have “bought” 80 free books. Seriously. I went through my Amazon account and counted. I have so many unread books on my kindle (321), that I just dump them in my cloud reader for a rainy day. Or a day when people actually start making me buy books.

Ebooks are either free or so cheap that we all have huge TBR (to be read) piles. What started as a promotional tool has become common place. It’s gotten so bad that we can’t even give books away for free anymore. It’s no wonder that when I host giveaways on my blog, I get so few responses. What is the enticement? And yet authors are still doing it…

If this is you, if you’re giving away your books for free and hoping for readership or reviews, then stop the madness. Or at least market responsibly. Here are my suggestions:

  1. It’s okay to give away the first book in a series (and two books does NOT count as a series). This makes sense. If I read your first book and like it, I’ll buy the rest and read them too.
  2. Instead of offering your book for free, offer it for a discount. That way you still make money. And, to be honest, I’m more likely to read something I’ve purchased than something I’ve gotten for free. It has more perceived value.
  3. If you want to spark interest in your book, do a Goodreads giveaway. Go ahead and give your book away…to 1 or 2 people at a time. Let people put it on their wish lists. Let them see if over and over again and be interested in it. They’ll eventually purchase it. And they’re more likely to read a book that they’ve purchased. (See #2).
  4. If you want to get more reviews, create a street team/reader group. Make those free copies count. Invest in people. Connect with readers who will actually read your book. Connect with other authors that write similar things. Don’t blast the masses. And when you do give that book away, ask for a review in exchange.
  5. And don’t make every one of your tweets be about you or your book. That’s just plain annoying. This suggestion has nothing to do with our topic, but my advice is also free. 😉

Supply and demand, folks. It’s simple economics.

HERE’S WHAT I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU: How many books are in your TBR pile? How much do you spend on books each month? Are you more likely to read something that you purchased or got for free? What would you add or take away from my list?

Lisa Godfrees

Lisa Godfrees

Swashbuckling pirate adventure, anyone?

Kathrese full

Kathrese McKee, author of Mardan’s Mark

Nickname: No nickname
Genre: YA speculative fiction
Personal Philosophy: God gave us language to give Him glory.
Fave Scripture (& why): Proverbs 27:19 The way you live your life reflects what’s in your heart.
Fave Quote: There’s only one God, Ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that. — Captain America
In high school I was a… book nerd and band geek.
yearbook photo

Kathrese – Freshman in college

Kathrese’s novel, Mardan’s Mark was released around Christmas. It has everything anyone could want in a book – great writing, a fantastic cast, pirates, princesses, adventure, romance, and danger. 


In this coming of age fantasy, seventeen-year-old Princess Srilani is prepared to die for her country, but she has to live long enough to make sure the heir survives.

After pirates abduct Srilani and her brother and sisters, they are stranded across the Great Gulf and far behind enemy lines. She convinces Aldan, the pirate captain’s slave, and his two brother slaves to share their perilous journey home.

These unlikely allies set out on a quest of heroes — against cutthroat pirates, merciless priests, and countless soldiers — to return the heir to his kingdom, but will coming home mean the end of happiness for Srilani?

Hi Kathrese! Whom did you have in mind when you wrote Mardan’s Mark?

I initially wrote Mardan’s Mark for my four children, but it was my fifteen-year-old daughter who kept the pressure on to finish the first book and keep going. I also wrote it for my thirteen-year-old son because there aren’t enough Young Adult novels written with boys in mind.

Can I get an amen, Tim Akers? 😉

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I want readers to have great memories of good times spent within the pages of my book, to remember the characters and how they overcame their troubles, and to understand God just a little better at the end of the story than when they began.

Which character is most like you and why?

Srilani because she loves to learn. In today’s world, she would be a nerd at school with her nose in a book until it was time to practice some other skill. She’s driven to master whatever skill is necessary to do her “job” as princess. That’s me. I think I have to be able to do it all myself, and it’s very hard for me to delegate responsibilities.

If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would it be and what would you do together?

I would choose Linus, and I would just follow him around for a week, pestering him with questions. He’s the most elusive character to get to know, even though I created him.

Ha! Linus is mysterious because he is so quiet. I really liked him a lot, but I think my favorite was Sam. 🙂

Thanks, Kathrese!

You can connect with Kathrese on her website, and on Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

GIVEAWAY: Kathrese is giving an ecopy to one lucky reader. Comment here to be entered in the drawing, and check out my blog on Monday for a second chance to win. 

TELL US: Your favorite pirate book or movie.

Marissa Shrock: author of the YA dystopian The First Principle

Marissa Shrock Headshot


Nickname: Mar, HaHa
Genre: Young Adult
Personal Philosophy: Trust God always.
Fave Scripture (& why): Psalm 27:14 – Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
This verse is my favorite because waiting on God is an important lesson I’ve had to learn. Though I didn’t have to wait as long as some to be published, I’m having to wait much longer than I ever imagined for God to bring the right man into my life to be my husband. When nothing seems to be happening, this verse reminds me I’m waiting on God to work things out in his time.
Fave Quote: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’” Ronald Reagan
In high school I was a…music nerd. I played the piano, sang in show choir, had roles in musicals, and performed in a chamber music ensemble.
Marissa in high school

Marissa in high school

Thanks for signing in, Marissa!

I really enjoyed The First Principle and I’m excited to introduce it and you to our readers. From the back of the book:

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.
When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.


LG: Whom did you have in mind when you wrote The First Principle?

MS: My target audience is teenage girls who enjoy dystopian fiction with strong female protagonists.

LG: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

MS: While I hope they enjoy and remember the story, I ultimately hope they recognize Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

LG: Which character is most like you and why?

MS: In some ways Vivica is like me, though I’m not as tough or as smart as she is. Like me, she tries to hide her feelings but isn’t always successful.

LG: If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would it be and what would you do together?

MS: I’d meet Vivica, and I’d have her teach me some of her computer skills. I don’t need to know how to be a hacker like she is, but maybe she could help me be a bit more tech savvy.

Marissa – thanks so much for taking the time out to come by and talk to us today. I’m looking forward to the sequel to The First Principle


FOR OUR READERS: Is a book that talks about abortion and teenage pregnancy too gritty for you? Do you think any subjects should be off-limits for Christian fiction?

Interview with Angie Brashear

Angie Brashear - Headshot (2)


photo (1)Nickname: My real name is actually Angela, so Angie is my nickname. Back home, my friends also call me Ang.
Genre: Fantasy Romance for Young Adults
Personal Philosophy: Can’t was defeated in the battle of try.
Fave Scripture: Phil. 4:13 Because in Him, I truly can.
Fave Quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
In high school I was a… scholar, athlete, genuine nice girl, and friend to many. (According to my high school friends whom I polled.) [big smile]
Angie in high school

Angie in high school

Thanks for signing into our Slam Book, Angie! And thanks for coming on our blog today to talk about your new Christian fantasy, Of The Persecuted. We’d like to learn more about you and your book. Ready for the first question? 

Whom did you have in mind when you wrote Of the Persecuted?

AB: Young adult females, particularly those who battle insecurity in even the smallest tasks.

I think all of us battle insecurity at one time or another. I know I do. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

AB: I hope my readers will see the One True God’s truth. And that He is the answer. To insecurity. To loneliness. To any form in which the enemy challenges each of us.

He is the answer, for sure. Which character is most like you and why?

AB: Can I pick three? [smile]

Laila Pennedy’s insecurity reflects every bit of my self-doubt as a teenager. No matter how obvious the truth was—whether getting good grades, winning races, or…really, any high school achievement—I didn’t believe I was good enough. And I believed I was a burden to the family and friends who supported me. Though my insecurities stemmed from different sources, abuse rather than the loss of those closest to me, I struggled with such emotions throughout my teenage years, and even into adulthood until I came to know Christ. 

Lars Landre’s reluctance to lead parallels my experiences. As a cross country runner, as a coach, and as an educator, I’ve often tried to avoid leadership roles, for I prefer to work behind the scenes because I do not like to be the center of attention. But I always end up leading, and I ultimately learned that good leaders aren’t the center of attention. 

Zander Costigan’s journey with the Maker mirrors my journey with God. Not the murderous allegiance to the Clan, but his moment of salvation and his subsequent reluctance to forgive himself of his mistakes. He’s actually my favorite character. Most of my readers have mixed emotions about him, and they’re supposed to, but I love him most.

I liked Zander and hope we get to see him more in your next novel. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would it be and what would you do together?

AB: Lars, so he could teach me to shoot and fight. How fun would it be to assume the role of a female Robin Hood type?!?

That would be cool. I’ve always wished I knew how to shoot a bow and arrow or fence, but they’re not very practical today. 

Of the Persecuted (ebook cover)


You can connect with Angie at her website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

For a longer interview with Angie and to read an excerpt from Of The Persecuted, head on over to my blog.


IF YOU WANT TO WIN AN E-COPY OF ANGIE’S BOOK, SAY SO IN THE COMMENTS. Winner announced September 4th. Must be 18 to enter. No purchase necessary.

Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson

2013-07-08 23.15.16-1 (2) (1)

I met Laura last year because we’re in the same local writer’s group. When the invitation to read her book in advance came out, I jumped on the opportunity. Worth the Wait took me back to the drama that goes along with high school–the dating, mean girls, trust issues, and best friends. Good and bad. Life.

I hope you enjoy learning more about Laura and her first book.

photo (1)

Nickname: I don’t have one….sad.
Genre: YA
Personal Philosophy: Love Jesus.
Fave Scripture: Phil 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. No matter where God has me, I want to be content with His will.
Fave Quote: If you’d get your mind right, everything else would fall into place. (My dad’s advice to me)
In high school I was a… normal girl who played sports and made good grades

Laura Jackson in high school

Laura Jackson in high school

Do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?

I think I’m a Christian author of Christian fiction. The first (Christian author) is a Christian who’s writing for a mainstream audience and doesn’t write spiritual elements in the book, which is cool. An author of Christian fiction is writing books with Christians in mind and usually includes spiritual truths in the book. That’s the difference to me, but since I’m a Christian who writes with Christian teens (particularly girls) in mind, I’m mixing the two.

I think both are needed.

Worth the Wait deals with typical high school dating issues—the pressure to have sex before marriage, mean girls, cheating boyfriends. How many of these did you experience firsthand?

I went to a small, private school where the girls in my class actually got along (all 6 of us). I was secure in my beliefs, so I didn’t fall for peer pressure in high school. In fact, I didn’t deal with most of those pressures until college. Sadly, I have had a cheating boyfriend, and like Ellie, I took him back for a while. So, I understand that struggle even though Ellie sometimes annoyed me like I’m sure I annoyed my friends/family.

Tell us about the setting of Worth the Wait—is this a real school in Houston, or one you invented? Did you go to a public or private high school?

Actually, we just changed the name of the school from the ARC that you read, Lisa! There was a school by that name, so we changed it to Waltham Christian Academy. It’s based off of the private school I attended and my imagination.

I enjoyed your book, but the ending wasn’t as complete as I hoped. Do you plan to write more about these characters in a future book?

Yes! I want to say more about the ending but don’t want to give it away. I had written an epilogue that tied everything together with the ending I thought agents, publishers, and readers would want. However, my publisher wanted a more realistic ending. And I liked it.
It’s not healthy to jump from one serious relationship to another. When I go back and read my old diaries, I cringe. I was a bit boy crazy. I’d write how much I loved one guy, and the next week, I was head over heels in love with some other guy. It wasn’t healthy, and I wished I had focused on myself and what God had planned for me instead of boys. So, I am happy with the way it ended, but I’ll revisit Ellie for sure.

Can you tell us something about Worth the Wait that you know but isn’t in the book? Something about a character or the setting?

I’m writing Lindsey’s story now. She’s such a hateful person, and at first, she was just a prop character, someone to cause problems for Ellie, the main character.
Then, I wondered what made her so mean. It’s been fun to figure her out, and I’m starting to like her.

And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?

God’s plan is always worth the wait.

Where to find Laura:


And now and excerpt from Worth the Wait

Pulling into the Martins’ driveway, Ellie repeated, “We’re just friends. He doesn’t expect more.” Before she could even ring the doorbell, Josh opened the door.

“Are you ready?” His eyes sparkled, and his grin matched hers.

“You’re smiling like you did that time you asked me and Cara if we wanted to try the cookies you made and then recorded our reactions as we took a bite and realized their main ingredient was salt.”

“I’ve grown up, Lansing. I can’t believe you don’t trust me.” He cast her a hurt puppy look as she pushed past him into the house, greeting his parents, who were remodeling their office.

“It was last year, Josh.” Ellie called back as she gave his mom a bear hug.

Holding Ellie tight, his mom whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry you’re hurting, and you’re welcome here any time, no matter which one of my babies you’re here to see.”

As she pulled back from the hug, she whispered back, “You know I feel at home here.”

“Y’all plotting against me? I promise I don’t have any cookies. I just have something to show you. Let’s go.” Josh motioned for her to hurry up.

“He’s been getting ready for this all morning, so I guess we’ll have to catch up later. Will you stay for dinner tonight? Mark and Cara will be here, and we’re going to have a family night.”

“Sounds per—” Ellie almost said perfect, but she was going to break the cycle of expecting and craving perfection. “Sounds fun.” Giving the Martins a wave, she headed out to the garage with Josh.

“This is amazing, Josh.” A temporary art studio filled the garage. Music pumped, old sheets covered the floor, and a small bookcase full of different paints stood between two easels that held blank canvases. “Are you going to paint two at once? I didn’t know you were that talented.”

He handed her a brush. “No, you’re going to paint one.”

“I’m not sure I have the talent for an actual canvas. Maybe I should start with a sheet of paper.”

“No, because I know what you’ll do. You’ll get all your emotions out on the paper and then paint a pretty little flower or smiley face on the canvas, thinking that’s what you should display. I want you to put your emotion on that canvas. All of it.” He handed her one of his old Texans’ t-shirts. She took off his sweatshirt and slipped on the t-shirt. His scent clung to every fiber of the soft cotton. Maybe his shirt will transfer some talent.

“So, what do I paint?” Maybe some waves like the ones on Nantucket. Those would be easy.

“Whatever you’re feeling. You’ve been through a lot. Your mom’s health. Golden boy. Me telling you how I felt.”

“That would be the flower part of the drawing,” Ellie joked. What if she put her anger and hurt there for anyone to see?

“You can draw that next. For now, just get your feelings out with the paint. I’m going to try something new—just picking colors and moving the brush. I always have a picture in my mind when I draw or paint, so I’m going to just go with the flow, not thinking about it too much.” He faced his own canvas and examined the paint for a minute before picking up his brush to mix a few colors together.

He was giving her privacy, but she couldn’t pick a color. Instead she watched as he moved the brush to create bold stokes covering the entire canvas. Every time she started to dip her brush in the paint, she checked to see if he was watching her. But he was absorbed in his own work and oblivious to hers. She began to paint happy yellow swirls. At least it’s not a smiling sun. She started experimenting with mixing colors and even dabbing blobs to give a little texture to the painting.

She looked over to Josh, who was focused on his painting. Occasionally, he would stand back and analyze his work, but he didn’t say a word or glance her way. She finally let the floodgates open, and out rushed a frenzy of paint. Over her carefully painted swirls and globs of “texture,” she began to just splatter the paint. Colors slid down the canvas, leaving streaks of mixed color before hitting the floor where they met her tears. When she finished an hour later, there was a mess of color: swirls mixed with lines, light contrasting dark. A confused mess that mirrored her own feelings.

She stepped back.

“It’s beautiful.” Josh’s words broke her concentration.

Excerpt used by permission.

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And now, dear friends, tell us: have you ever had a girlfriend/boyfriend cheat on you? Or were you ever the cheater?

A Chat with Fabulous Fay Lamb

A DOZEN APOLOGIES 2Vanessa Morton writes:   Thank you for coming back for Part Two of my interview with the Fabulous Fay Lamb, contributing author of the new Valentine novella, A Dozen Apologies. If you missed Part One of Fay’s interview about this innovative chapter book, you can read it here.

Before we begin, I want to tell you more about Fay. Many of us first met Fay through ACFW where she moderated the Scribes Loop with an abundance of organizational skills and grace. But, did you know…?

Fay Lamb’s emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse the first release in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series has been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Fay LambFuture Write Integrity Press releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Libby, Hope and Delilah, Books 2 through 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren.

Today, Fay bravely agreed to answer our probing questions. Here goes!

VM: What other projects are you working on right now?

Fay: Oh, boy. That’s a loaded question. I’m currently awaiting the release of my second novel in The Ties that Bind series. Libby. I’m currently working on edits for the story that is the story of my lifetime, meaning, I’ve been working on it for thirty-five years. I had given up on publication. The story was a monumental undertaking with fourteen characters, two main plots, and several other subplots that provide a Biblical modern-day retelling of the aftermath of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

I’m also working on the third release in the Amazing Grace series, Everybody’s Broken. I do have a book trailer for Better than Revenge the second novel in the series. It can be viewed here:

You’re a successful, multi-published author. Do you write by hand or on the keyboard?

When I was a teenager, I would spend every night in my room writing by hand. Even when my working-class mother surprised me with a typewriter—a Selectric, at that, which dates me—I preferred to write by hand. That would be anywhere from twenty-five to fifty front and back pages nightly. Recently, when my computer cord needed replacement, I found myself writing by hand until the replacement arrived. The process was useless. I couldn’t read my own writing, and I found it hazardous to the story. When I type, my fingers can keep up with my brain. Writing doesn’t allow me to keep that pace.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

That’s easy. I knew I wanted to be a writer before I could even write. I remember that the first two words I learned to spell were General  and Electric as in the old black and white television that was most often my babysitter. I begin reading at age four, and words captivated me. Then you add in my grandmother’s love for soap operas … I don’t recommend soap operas. I swore off of them about four years ago now, but the complex plots and continuing storylines absorbed in my child’s brain taught me how to build a story, again, even before I could write them down. I told stories. I directed plays for the neighborhood kids. I truly feel I was born to be a writer. In high school, the aptitude tests always said I would be one of two things: a librarian or an author. And being a librarian was out of the question.

Who’s your favorite author?

I am eclectic in my reading tastes. My favorite author of all time is James A. Michener. I have read every one of his tomes. That love affair started in high school when a history teacher assigned me his novel Centennial to read. He provided everyone else with an easy biography, as I remember. I went to the library, checked out the book and lugged it—have you seen the size of his stories—to the checkout counter. I read it half the way through, did a report, and got an “A.” After I graduated, I couldn’t let the story go. I needed to see how it ended. I went to the bookstore, lugged the book to the counter, and I purchased it and read it through. Then I bought another and another and another of his works. My library has each of his first editions, tomes and not-so-tomes.

Another secular author that I follow is Sharyn McCrumb and her Appalachian Ballard series. She leaves her readers spellbound by stories that weave folklore into the present. And if you want to read a story that will leave you laughing, Faster Pastor, is hilarious and unique.

Christian authors that I enjoy are young adult novels by authors like John Otte and his young adult Failstate series, Cynthia Toney, and her soon-to-be released coming-of-age novel, Bird Face, and Therese M. Travis’s coming-of-age novel, A Fistful of God.  Adult novels: Tracy Bowen and Jenness Walker’s novel Bliss is one I will never forget because I laughed from page one until the last line. I’m noted as being their #1 fan.

I have recently discovered Ann H. Gabhart and her fantastic low-key, tough issue, writing in her Hollyhill series. I plan to read more of her works as well.

I’m a James Michener fan, too. I still remember reading The Source–Wow. What are you reading right now?

I’m actually re-reading the newest novel, Ryan’s Father, by June Foster. This is a tremendous story that centers on a tough issue, which truthfully was not handled well in at least one other book I’ve read. June provides the truth in love. I met June’s hero in critique, and I have never been able to forget him. This is one dynamic novel.

I’m going to add that to my TBR list. What’s your favorite food?

Hmm. Let me think … Only kidding. Vanilla ice cream.

Mmm, one of my favorites, too! When you’re not writing (hopefully with a bowl of vanilla ice cream at your side), what do you do for fun?

Goodness. It’s been so long since I haven’t been buried with work that I truly don’t remember. Well, I love to tat—you know—making lace and collecting salt and pepper shakers. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, Marc. We both work at home, but since our home is also an office for both of us, we’re working diligently each day. Sometimes we work sixteen hours a day with a break only for dinner. So when we get to leave the house and relax, we just enjoy spending quiet time together.

Thank you Fay for sharing with us again today.  I hope you come back soon!

Write Integrity Press (  is releasing a new chapter of A Dozen Apologies each week day up to February 5, after which you can start voting for your favorite hero. ****Your votes will determine how the book ends! On February 14 through 16, the completed novella, including the last chapter, featuring the “winning” hero, will be offered free on Amazon Kindle.

Even if you don’t have questions, take a moment to let Fay know what type of hero / heroine / adventure you’d like to see in future chapter books. Let your voice be heard!