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.

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!)


Interview with The Dragon Lady, Donita K Paul

pink headshot

Nickname: Dragon Lady
Genre: Christian Fantasy and Romance
Personal Philosophy: Love others as you would have them love you.
Fave Scripture (& why): I have favorite Scriptures for different circumstances. Not one overall verse.
Fave Quote: “Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey.” G. K. Chesterton
Paraphrase:  “Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” Neil Gaiman
In high school, I was an observer.

Donita’s pet Dwarf Netherland lop-eared bunny

Donita K Paul is the author of One Realm Beyond and Two Renegade Realms, books #1 and #2 of the Realm Walkers Trilogy. Here is an excerpt from Two Renegade Realms:


Bixby hurried to her patient’s side. “You’re awake. Let me give you a drink.”

“There was one brew you gave me last night that tasted like it’d been dipped from a frog pond. The other one was all right.”

Bixby wrinkled her nose. “I’m afraid it’s the frog pond for now. It eases your pain and allows you to think clearly.”

“What does the other one do?”

“Allows you to rest and keeps you from vomiting.”

“Well, I’ve got something to tell you, so I guess I’ll swallow the pond water.”

Bixby hesitated. “You do know that it isn’t really pond water?”

“I know. It would help if I could hold my nose.”

“Your nose is broken.”

“I know.”

Cantor heard the humor in the wounded man’s voice. He stepped closer and caught him winking at Bixby.

“I’ll help hold him up so he can drink.” Cantor positioned himself at the head of the bed. He could brace against the frame and keep it from swaying. He could also redirect any inappropriate conversation should the man feel like one last flirt with a pretty girl.

Bixby squinted her eyes at him. Cantor, he’s dying. 

These guards can be rough individuals. I just don’t want him talking to you like you were a bar room floozy.

She giggled. Bar room floozy?

Cantor did not want to be diverted. Doesn’t this man need a drink? His medicine?

She went away to fix the potion. When she came back, Cantor held the guard, gently lifting him by the shoulders and supporting his head against his chest. Jesha moved aside, hopping off the bed and exiting the cabin.

The guard drank the smelly brew all at once.

Bixby smiled at him. “I put spoonfuls of Old Trout’s honey in it. Was it any better?”

Cantor lowered him carefully before the patient answered. “It was sweeter . . . but still pond water.”

Bixby heaved a big sigh. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I figure you won’t be able―” He grunted. “―to pour many more of those down me before I die.”

Bixby remained silent for a moment. Cantor thought the sorrow on her face would tear a hole in his heart.

<><   ><>

Ms. Paul, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to share with us today. 

Whom did you have in mind when you wrote Two Renegade Realms?

I write stories I want to read and that I think my grandchildren will enjoy.

I know I enjoy them. 🙂 What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

To be careful with their lives. Each circumstance is an opportunity. Our choices must be based on Truth, not on a situation. A firm foundation is the only way to have a joyful life.

Making decisions based on feeling or circumstance without a firm foundation is certainly a scary prospect. Which character is most like you and why?

Today I feel like Bixby, an enthusiastic being who is so much more than appearances would define.

Today I feel like Bridger’s cat. Ready to curl up in a ball and take a nap. 😉

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

Chomountain, the Right Hand of Primen. Talk, laugh, explore, and serve.

I really lliked Chomountain, a character introduced in book 2. He’s a great addition to the ensemble!

Thank you for sharing with us today, Ms. Paul!


The adventure begins in book #1, One Realm Beyond.

Lisa Godfrees

Lisa Godfrees

GIVEAWAY – Ms. Paul will be sending a signed paperback of Two Renegade Realms to someone living in the USA. Head over to my blog,, and comment for a chance to win.

FOR A 2ND CHANCE TO WIN, TELL ME – If you could travel anywhere in the world, or outside the world, where would you want to go?

Getting bloody with Ben Wolf

P1030475[1]Nickname: Ben Wolf
Genre: Speculative
Personal Philosophy: Live Free or Die Hard
Fave Scripture (& why): Romans 8:28 – Read it. God always fulfills his promises to us.
Fave Quote: “The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book.” ― Mickey Spillane
In high school I was an outspoken Christ-follower, actor, musician, and wannabe writer.
Ben as Dracula in high school

Ben as Dracula in high school

Ben is the author of Blood for Blood, a classic vampire tale that asks the important question: is anyone beyond the redemption of Christ’s blood?


Hunger drove Raven Worth to the big tent revival that night, but it wasn’t what made him stay. Usually in such a public gathering he’d have lurked just beyond the edge of the crowd to scan the fringes for stragglers. In other settings he’d often harvest the ones who looked the most destitute or lonely. He could relate to them. He knew their pain.

But not that night. The crowd seemed devoid of the transients and homeless nobodies Raven preferred. Everyone beamed with happiness—they enjoyed the service, the evangelist’s booming voice, and even each other in a form of unity Raven hadn’t seen since before he turned. Then again, that was almost a hundred years ago. Sometimes it felt more like a thousand.

A few children wandered along the crowd’s outer ring, not engaged by the service in the least. One of them, a small girl with hair so blonde that it seemed to glow under the moonlight, sat alone on the ground and played with a rag doll. Raven couldn’t help but stare at her.

Who would leave such a beautiful child unattended? Raven clenched his fists. Didn’t her parents know what kinds of horrors roamed the night in search of weak, vulnerable prey exactly like her? Perhaps she was an orphan, with no one to look out for her wellbeing.

A rumble in Raven’s stomach and a brief spell of lightheadedness reminded him of why he’d come tonight. He shook off the weakness and resigned himself to his task.

To feed.

– Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Blood for Blood, by Ben Wolf

Ben, it’s a pleasure to have you on The Scriblerians today! And how cool to hang our with you twice in one week! Tell us, whom did you have in mind when you wrote Blood for Blood?

10% of me wrote Blood for Blood for Christians who wanted to enjoy a solid Christian spec fic novel. 20% of me wrote it for nonChristians who might be willing to read it and enjoy a good story. 70% of me wrote it for Christians who don’t know how to show God’s love to people who are different than us.

That’s a struggle for all of us. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

If you’re a nonChristian reader, know that God loves you.

If you’re already a Christian, be reminded that we need to be careful how we treat people who are different than us because our actions, right or wrong, affect nonChristians’ perceptions of who Jesus is. So endeavor to treat everyone with love, be they vampire or not.

You know vampires aren’t real, right? 😉 Which character is most like you and why?

I’ve been told I’m a lot like Raven (the main character) but at times I think I’m more like Garrett (the villain) because I get it wrong so often, but God’s not done with me yet.

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

I’d like to meet Luco. I think we would talk a lot about my life and he could give me some wise counsel on how I could better follow God.

Luco is a great character. A testament to what it looks like to love people like God loves them.

Thanks for hanging out with us today, Ben!

You can connect with Ben at his website (sign up for his newsletter in the lower right corner and get a bunch of free stories), and on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.


Lisa Godfrees

GIVEAWAY! Ben is giving an ebook of Blood for Blood to one lucky reader. If you’re interested in a chance to win a copy, head over to my blog ( before Monday and leave a comment. For an extra chance to win, comment here as well.

TELL ME: What is the most thought-provoking novel you’ve ever read?

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.

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!

Welcome Jill Williamson!!!!

I am excited to welcome the fabulous Jill Williamson to our blog today.
But before we dive into some questions,
please leave your mark in the Slam Book.

Nickname: Don’t have one. Someone once called me Jill Bean, but it didn’t stick.

Genre: fantasy

Personal philosophy: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t speak.

Fave Scripture: There are too many favorites! Here is one: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ―Romans 8:28

Fave Quote: Here too! Here is one I like: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ―Dr. Seuss

In high school I was… a basketball player, a Girl Scout, and a wannabe fashion designer.


Jill Williamson was the first Christian author who showed me that writing weird stuff was OK. 😉
It is a pleasure to have her on the blog today and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. 🙂

     “You will be releasing the second book in The Safe Lands series, Outcasts. What inspired you to start this series?”

My publisher was looking for dystopian books. Knowing that, one day when I was at my Bible study group, we were working through Beth Moore’s study on the book of Daniel. At one point she asked listeners to think about some teenage boys we knew and imagine how they might cope if they were taken captive to a city like Babylon. That instantly got me thinking about a fantasy idea I had that was inspired by the book of Daniel. And I thought, “Hey! That idea might work as a dystopian!” And it did.

     “The world you portrayed in the first book, Captives, had some very cool futuristic items. Can you name your favorite one?”

I like SimTalk. I’m always forgetting to take my cell phone with me, so this way I’d have it with me always. The only bad part would be remembering to turn it off. I’d have people waking me up in the morning!

     “I found the world that you built within the walls of the Safe Lands very convicting and some of their practices mirrored what our world is like today. Did you find yourself convicted as you wrote it? How so?”

Yes. Levi believes that all Safe Landers are the enemy. He doesn’t trust them, and he doesn’t care about them. And that’s probably because he can’t relate to them. But Omar feels compassion for them. And while Levi wants to scrape them off and worry about the remnant from Glenrock alone, Omar thinks Safe Landers deserve to know the truth. I feel like Levi sometimes. I get frustrated with hateful people or people who are so caught up in themselves that they have lost any shred of goodness. But God loves them still. And they deserve the truth. I thought about that a lot as I wrote this book.

     “If you wanted the reader to walk away with one thing after reading this series what would it be?”

To remain strong when you face trials. Don’t give in to anger or despair, but trust that your faith can carry you through even the most terrible circumstance.

     “Is there a writer New Year’s resolution you wouldn’t mind sharing with our readers?”

I’d like to try and stay on task more. I’m going to try very hard to write a weekly To Do list for myself, then keep up with it all week. The weeks that I did this have always been the most productive, so I’d like to make it a weekly thing.

     “If you could be any character from any of your books who would you be?”

Don’t know. I kind of like being me. I wouldn’t mind being Vrell Sparrow for a few days, but I’d miss electricity. It might be fun to be Spencer and play a basketball game and be able to dunk. But I’d want to be myself again rather soon, I’d think.


Thank you so much for joining us today Jill.
If you want to learn more about all aspects of Jill Williamson be sure to check out her website.
Attend her online launch party on January 10th.

In case you didn’t know,
the next installment of The Safe Lands series is coming out on January 7th.
In honor of the occasion I will be giving away one copy of Outcasts to a blog follower.
The winner will be announced on Jill’s release date.

Have you read any of Jill Williamson’s books? Which was your favorite and why? Leave me a comment and join in the conversation. 🙂

Karen deBlieck

Karen deBlieck

Thanksgiving, Romance, and a Book Giveaway

At my house, Thanksgiving includes a remembrance of my husband’s Mayflower ancestors, Priscilla Mullins and John Alden. The venerable Myles Standish also tried to court Priscilla, but I’d like to think she chose love over status when she married John, the Mayflower’s cooper. If I found myself in Priscilla’s rustic kitchen sipping hot tea, I’d ask her to tell me the real reason.



1620 is not that long ago, and I can easily empathize with Priscilla. 

For those romantic couples who lived two thousand years ago, however, I’ll need a little help, like several candid photographs (in living color thank you very much).

In the absence of photos, I rely on authors who write fiction that breathes, such as Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti:A Novel. See my complete review


Equal part passion and tragedy describes the marriage of Nefertiti and Akhenaten. Nefertiti’s museum bust is beautiful, but I yearn to see her gown ripple in the evening breeze, as she and her husband stroll the gardens and plot to undermine the priesthood. If you found yourself on the royal barge sailing the Nile, what would you ask her?


These are more of my faves, but feel free to add any others who pre-date the Middle Ages:

Antony and Cleopatra (Roman/Egyptian)

Emperor Justinian and his former-courtesan wife, Theodora (Greek)

Abraham and his childless wife, Sarah (Jewish)

Comment and tell me your favorite ancient romance. You can also send me those burning questions you’ve always wanted to ask one of these ladies!                                .

We may find they are not much different from us after all!

Vote and/or submit your questions through November 18th, and I’ll put your name in the hat to win Nefertiti: A Novel. If you share or tweet this blog, your name goes in twice.

One lucky winner will be drawn from the hat on November 18th and will receive a digital copy of Nefertiti: A Novel.



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