Before Josiah left the apartment, he glanced one last time out the living room window. There were two sparks of light a few miles in the distance. Trails of smoke followed the flashes through the early morning skyline.
The tablet in his hand spoke in a calm male voice. "Warning. Incoming rockets.”
John Theo's latest novel released yesterday with Clean Reads! I thought my readers would like to see about his newest release and get the latest intel on John's work.
MISSION TRIP, GENESIS AND EXODUS is the sequel to John Theo's MISSION TRIP. In 2077, doctor Kyle Faison remains trapped on the west coast of New America with a group of villagers he came to help. His father, Landon, races from their hidden underwater city to rescue his son. When Kyle goes missing, Landon tracks him to the city of New Sacramento, where a charismatic leader holds him captive. Landon must find a way past an army of soldiers to reach Kyle before the onset of another nuclear war.
The origin of the underwater city known as the Atoll is revealed in a prequel flashback woven throughout the story. In 2040, technocrat Josiah Saunders has wealth and power and invests much of his resources into life extension technology. He ruins countless lives trying to reach this goal. The combination of a hostile takeover by his competitor, and a failed assassination attempt, send Josiah fleeing into the subway system of New York where he is attacked and left for dead. The narcissistic man soon realizes God has other plans for him, but first he must be broken and rebuilt as a new creature.
John Theo, Jr. has published numerous articles in New England based newspapers and magazines, and has taught screenwriting at the college level. MISSION TRIP, GENESIS AND EXODUS is his fifth fiction novel and the sequel to 2016’s MISSION TRIP (Clean Reads Press). John holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA.
I asked John a few questions about this release and his writing. He had some great answers and I'm rooting for Josh or Hugh too!
2) What's a favorite line or paragraph from the novel?
The line at the end when Landon realizes God performed miracles to save his (Landon’s) son but did not spare His own son. At this point Landon’s “arc” is complete and he has healed from his past trauma.
“He had not spared His only son, but made a point to spare Landon’s. It was as if Landon fully understood the cross of Christ for the first time.”
3) How many books have you written? When did you begin writing?
I started writing back in high school for fun, but did not take it seriously until my mid twenties. I’ve written five books and one novella that cover a broad range: I have a young adult fantasy, a nautical murder mystery, a Tom Clancy-esque conspiracy thriller, the two Mission Trip stories as well as a prequel novella. All of which are available online or www.johntheo.com.
4) What inspired you to write MISSION TRIP?
I wanted to write a sci fi story for a long time. I grew up a complete nerd reading comic books and watching every sci fi show, and movie, imaginable. I wanted to tell a sci fi story that had not been told yet, which is hard to do. If nothing else, Mission Trip is a unique tale because it is a futuristic re-telling of the Pilgrims story. At the time I wrote MT (2015) the world was in a bad place. Christians were (and still are) being persecuted all over the world. According to PEW research, Christians are the most persecuted group on the planet. They were also (to a lesser extent) being persecuted here in the US legally. This got me thinking about the future as well as the past. What prompted the pilgrims to flee Europe and what would it take for Christians to flee the US, and where would they go?
5) Do you currently teach screenwriting? Have you written any scripts recently? If you could turn MISSION TRIP into a movie, who would you cast as the lead?
I’ve written multiple screenplays, but currently I’m marketing only two of them with my agent Pierre Rumpf.
Nicky and the Saint, A Christmas Story is a screenplay about the historic Saint Nicholas and a modern day boy named Nicky, and how their symbiotic “hero’s journey’s” overlap. The trailer (or sizzle reel) is here:
Christmas by The Sea is a straight up Hallmark Channel-esque romance set in a quaint New England seaside town. Unlike other made-for-television Christmas movies I instilled some comedy, and even a little action to broaden the audience base. The sizzle reel is here:
Christmas seems to be a theme in a lot of my writing. I guess it’s the kid in me.
As for teaching: I taught screenwriting off and on for five years at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. Prior to that I was a movie critic for a local paper and even acted a little on TV. I recently left my teaching job to move my family south. My wife and I punched out of the “rat race” and purchased a small business allowing us to be together more as a family. In the future I may create an online screenwriting class on Udemy.
As for the MISSION TRIP books as a movie: I’ve often thought of who could play the lead. I think Hugh Jackman is the size and age of the main protagonist. He would make a great Landon. With that said, I love underdogs and going against the grain. I think an actor like Josh Duhamel is an underrated actor who (for some reason) was never given the opportunity to take-off as an A lister. This is all fun stuff to think about.
For more information on John check out www.johntheo.com.
You can get MISSION TRIP, GENESIS AND EXODUS for only $3.99 on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here!
Connect with him in other places on social media:
BOOK TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1LBjsWLBbY
“Here be dragons to be slain, here be rich rewards to gain;
If we perish in the seeking, why, how small a thing is death!”
It’s release day for HERE BE DRAGONS! My heart’s roaringly thunderous inside my chest. The pressure, the epitome, the culmination of months of work—no, years of work—leading up to THIS one moment…it’s finally here. Are you ready?
Breathing life into her awoke my own resolution to restore others. Saylor didn’t know I’d revived her. She didn’t know for months, and during that time I traveled across our blue sphere and back to her recovering form at Fort Story, Virginia. Little blonde firecracker. Changed my life.
Sergeant Merritt Steele sat beside me on the cargo plane carrying us to Camp Kissinger, located deep in the heart of Australia’s Outback. “Sorry to see them go,” my co-commander noted, a slight tremor in his blue eyes. I knew he meant more than he said. He’d connected with Saylor, her sister Micah, and the McConnell family during our three-week leave.
Neither of us knew when or if we’d see them again. But that was life as Echo Company of the Alliance Military Guard, and we held that knowledge closer than our body armor. Never quit. We defeat. Let the enemy fall, come what may. That’s what we did, that’s what we were, and not a single one of us doubted it.
Not even when we landed in a war zone.
(HERE BE DRAGONS, Chapter One Excerpt)
Are you living in a war zone?
Fiction shows us how to deal with our non-fiction. We can read these characters’ stories, see their pain, feel their journey, and tremble as their spirits quake. We get invited into their space and see the world with its crumbles, heartache, and power. Fiction’s miraculous. Fiction offers a gift of escape, of courage, of grit, of shuddering through temptation with the hero. Are you facing some serious shadows? Are you hearing the grinding of bones in the distance? Follow Tucker into the heart of the Outback.
Where are the heroes?
A friend of mine recently said she wondered where the heroes were. The current trend for stories is that they often feature a strong heroine—and while I am ALL about a strong heroine, and inspiring girls to believe in themselves—I also believe we need to encourage boys to protect, to serve, to lead humbly, to explore, to create, and to forget stereotypes. Be inspired. Be fearless. Be wise. Be the hero.
Temptation leads us down paths where we consider retreating or cheating, or complaining or blaming. Well let me ask you, can fiction teach us to face the shadows? Can fiction show us the glory in the fight for life?
The amazing thing about HERE BE DRAGONS is it’s only $4.99 on Kindle Unlimited AND if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for FREE! I’ve had several readers who’ve provided feedback, and what they’ve all said is how much they enjoyed the ending--do you need a great ending? HERE BE DRAGONS is currently only available as an ebook, until I sell 100 per my publisher’s contract. Help both of us hold that book in our hands. We need to grip this, to flip through these pages. Connect with a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and download your copy of HERE BE DRAGONS and soar through those Australian skies with Tucker and his rag-tag crew of Guardsmen.
What is HERE BE DRAGONS about?
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping on a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he's been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world's borders.
Readers love HERE BE DRAGONS! One reviewer stated:
“On the surface, this novel is a good dose of sci-fi and futuristic drama. Deep down, the realistic characters, with their daily struggle, not only for survival but also for understanding their sense of purpose in life, meets the need of young adult readers who, similarly, are seeking a meaning of life. The message is clear: work hard, stay the course, and look for the good in everyone and everything. Life can be good.” (Emily-Jane Hills Orford)
Are you wanting to add a great book to your reading list for 2018?
Grab HERE BE DRAGONS today. I’ve seen those dark days, those dark nights. I’ve felt the gripping fingers of desperation slipping around my neck in the trenches of writing, amid crying children, tight finances, broken down cars, endless mounds of papers to grade. I’ve scraped by on my knees and had to carry heavier weights than I thought possible. But you know what you find in the darkness? You find the light. You find the people who help, the people who stride through your front door with chocolate and coffee, and the people who truly believe all of which you’re capable.
You need to believe it, too.
The stories you tell yourself in the dark, those are the ones that stick with you.
You have the opportunity to build upon the bricks of shattered dreams and mortar of confusion, and turn it into an empire. What do you do, what do you tell yourself, when the lights go out?
Some may beg for light. Others may beg for relief, beg for some give in the take. Others may bury their faces further into the miry pool.
Something I’ve learned in the dark places: there’s always someone around to bring in the light. There’s always someone around to absorb the spilled tears, to carry the weight, and to offer a square of chocolate. Death brought confusion. But, ultimately, life wins.
You see, people are intrepid. People do seek life and life fully. There may be a lot of dark, but the warriors for light rage on. They cannot, they will not rest, until the light shines over the horizon. You see it among the darkness: a sparkle, a spark, a crack of hope against all odds.
The people who feed the darkness, they are confused. They are trapped. They are prisoners enchained by lies. They are enveloped by the monsters who devour them.
Another lesson? The hardest battle may be around the corner, trapped in the tunnels, snarling against the bright light you carry. Be prepared. Be prepared for anguish, be prepared for a cold chill to grasp for the warm light. Be prepared to fight with courage, with kindness, with tenacity, and grit. Expect among the war cry a song of hope to emerge. Be the singer. Be the strong arms carrying the weak into the night. Be the grammar joke, when death is on the line.
Bang the war drums.
Rattle the cages.
Here be Dragons.
Amy Purdy's caption on an Instagram photo posted last year displays a twenty-one year-old girl in a white hospital gown, with a resilient smile on her face. She'd just had both of her legs amputated below the knees. Her words rang true then and they ring true now.
"In fact when I was wheeled into surgery, I gave myself three goals. 1. To never feel sorry for myself. 2. To snowboard that year and 3. When I figured this mess out, I vowed to help others. And I'm proud to say, that I accomplished all of them and ended up going further than I ever could have imagined. I didn't just snowboard, I won a medal in the Olympic/Paralympic Games. I didn't just help others, I have become one of the top requested motivational speakers in the country and started my own organization @adaptiveactionsports. But most importantly... I never ever gave up on myself. No matter what your circumstances are, don't ever give up on yourself. You are important and your contribution to this world and humanity is needed. You can be whatever you want to be. But there isn't anyone who is going to figure it out for you, you have to figure it out for yourself."
Battling meningitis, losing both kidneys, her spleen, and the hearing in her left ear, weighing eighty-three pounds, and at a two percent chance of survival, Amy Purdy proved to be one resilient cupcake. That same year she strapped on her snowboard. Three years later she earned a bronze medal in the snowboardcross at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. She’s continued moving forward, joining the Dancing With The Stars cast in their eighteenth season, which is where I first saw her dance with partner Derek Hough. I rooted for her every step of the way, gasping when she’d whirl around on the floor, and as Derek would toss her around like a graceful puppet. She held her own, all the way to runner-up. I voted for her, I gotta say! She never earned a score less than an 8 during the entire run.
Amy has spoken on TEDx talks and her speech has become the example from which others are advised to learn in order to present their speeches; she also has a New York Times bestselling book. “Borders are where the actual ends, but also where the imagination and the story begins,” Amy said in her TEDx talk. “Instead of looking at our challenges and limitations as something negative or bad, we can begin to look at them as blessings, magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations and help us go further than we ever knew we could go.” Other accomplishments? She went on a speaking engagement tour with Oprah Winfrey, drove a pace car in the Daytona 500, and runs Adaptive Action Sports, a company which helps athletes compete in action sports. She had to create her own gear in order to continue snowboarding, and has used that knowledge to help others. She’s currently on track to compete in the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang in 2018.
Amy’s TEDx talk asks viewers, “If your life were a book and you were the author, how would you want your story to go?” She said after she left the hospital, she had to let go of the old Amy and embrace the new Amy.
You’ve got to admit, we humans like a good hero story. We like a guy who rises from the ashes. You’ve got some button—some button that engages your fears, your failures, your darkness—and you’ve also got the ability to quell them. The Not Good Enough seeks you to serve you. How will you greet it? How will you create your story? The building action drives those decisions you make. You get every opportunity to be the hero.
“There's no need to be perfect to inspire others,” Amy wrote on an Instagram post. “Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.” Perhaps you’re sitting on the living room floor, staring at your laptop, illuminated in the dark, just like I am. Perhaps your insides have been trembling in fear. We rise. We rise up fearless, borderless, and creative. Perhaps you’ve been training your whole life just for this incredible moment. This new moment where you embrace your new day. “It’s not about breaking down borders. It’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us.”
See Amy’s TEDx talk here: http://amypurdy.com/speaker/
During the 1988 Calgary Olympics the world saw the debut of the Jamaican Bobsled Team, and also where Eddie “The Eagle” soared into last place as a famously unsuccessful ski jumper. The media called him, “Mr. Magoo,” and “a heroic failure.” At the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Olympics, Frank King, organizer of the Olympic Committee stated, “You have captured our hearts. You have broken world records and you have established personal bests. And some of you have soared like eagles.”
Michael “Eddie” Edwards spent three years of his childhood wearing plaster casts on his legs after a noble yet unnecessarily dangerous risk blocking a soccer goal, damaging the cartilage in his knee. He wore thick glasses. At the age of thirteen he began downhill skiing, and by the age of seventeen he had advanced on the British national skiing team. He decided to pursue ski jumping due to lack of funding for the costly downhill skiing. He traveled the European ski circuit in his mother’s van, utilizing second-hand equipment. He earned money doing odd jobs, such as babysitting, mowing lawns, and working in hotels. The Italians gave him a helmet, and the Austrians handed over a pair of extra skis. His boots were too large, so he wore six pairs of socks to fill the gap. “When he broke his jaw, instead of paying to be treated at a hospital, he tied it up with a pillowcase and went about his business” (The Guardian). Edwards received news he qualified for the British Olympic Team while staying at a Finnish mental hospital—he’d booked their accommodations for the cheap cost of one pound a night.
Edwards was twenty pounds heavier than the other ski jumpers, and barely scraped by the minimum qualifications for ski jumping. But he was the fastest ski jumper from Britain.
At the 1988 Olympics, fellow Olympians watched as Eddie smashed into a glass door at the airport, crushing his skis and ruining some of his gear. But despite all these difficulties, Eddie persisted. The media ran with his story and ridiculed him. Fans adored him. They rooted for the underdog. He participated in all three jumps, and scores landed him absolutely last place. According to Wikipedia, “In the 70 [meter jump], he scored 69.2 points from two jumps.” Next to last place, “Bernat Sola Pujol of Spain scored 140.4 points. Winner Matti Nykänen of Finland had 229.1 points.” Underwhelming results didn’t stop him from showing up and jumping to the best of his ability. And the whole crowd rooted for him.
See, we love an underdog. We love seeing someone dedicate and overcome. We love to see the guy who doesn’t give up, no matter what.
In 1990, the International Olympic Committee even made an “Eddie The Eagle Rule,” raising the minimum qualifications. As People magazine stated, “stricter qualification rules were imposed, making it nearly impossible for Eddie the Eagles of the world to ever make the Olympics again.”
Edwards sold the movie rights to his life story in 2007, and production halted on the movie until the right people fell into place. In 2016, the movie “Eddie The Eagle,” starring Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman hit theatres, which is where I first saw this fantastic story of heart and grit. We all have our Eddie moments. Ever been wearing six pairs of socks to fill someone else’s boots? Are you out of your league? Are you underprepared and financially incapable? <Raises hand.> Eddie braved it all and didn’t look back.
Even considered a “heroic failure,” he still went to the Olympics, man. And he was mentioned in the closing ceremony address, to thunderous applause.
Maybe you’re dreaming of big things and great stories. Maybe you’re stuck facing overwhelming odds against you, and fears which leave you crippled in your spot.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time to soar.
Pre-order your copy of the Young Adult Action Adventure HERE BE DRAGONS for only $4.99 and receive your own Alliance Military Guard Training Guide containing TWO WEEKS worth of exercises, guaranteed to get you in battle-ready shape to train as a Guardsman.
In addition, every purchase earns an entry into a drawing to win a MONTH-LONG online FAT LOSS PROGRAM, worth $150!
With over ten years of experience specializing in metabolic conditioning, and as the official trainer of the Alliance Military Guard, Fit By Faith© owner Krista Johnson has created ten workouts to get you in gear and ready to crush life. Utilizing a variety of whole-body strengthening techniques, your free gift with purchase will be just what you need to start your new year off the right way. Each of the ten workouts can be completed at home or in a gym, and takes approximately thirty minutes or less.
ALSO Krista has generously given me one spot in her online FAT LOSS FORMULA PROGRAM. I've participated in her online program several times and learned something new every single time, along with losing over 10 pounds and 8 inches in one month! Over the course of six months where I've been measuring my progress and working consistently on my eating habits, I've lost over 20 pounds and 17 inches. Krista's program is worth its weight in gold. She gives you the education and information to manage your own nutritional and fitness goals to live a fat loss lifestyle like a boss. For every HERE BE DRAGONS receipt received, you earn ONE ENTRY in a drawing to win this spot in her class! Krista's online course begins December 31st. (See more about Krista's program, workouts, and courses at http://www.fitbyfaith.net/index.html)
***To earn a spot in the drawing, entries must be received by Wednesday, December 20th at 11:59 PM***
Click this link to pre-order HERE BE DRAGONS and submit your receipt to get your FREE GIFT NOW:
What's HERE BE DRAGONS about?
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he's been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world's borders.
Pound the war drums. Rattle the cages. Here be Dragons.
Excerpt from HERE BE DRAGONS:
Creeping through the sultry space, footsteps steady and stealthy, we readied our weapons. Blood and fire pulsed through my veins like they’d done so many times in training. This was the game, after all. These Alliance builders loved their long hallways.
Our rustling stirred up dust underfoot, and cement beams overhead groaned in disuse.
“How many feet‘re we underground ya think?” Hawk asked from the back of the line.
Flashlights and head lamps illuminated the way before us, stark tile work on the ground cracked and chipped. With every few feet we advanced, the walls became more fractured and peeling, as if a wave of tremors had rippled outward from the explosions of the bombing. Like vines along the paint, crevices in the cement grew substantial and entangled. Cautious and wary, we proceeded.
After several minutes of quiet steps echoing along the corridor, someone’s beam of light caught a fleck of darkness upon the wall.
“What’s that?” Norita asked.
Burkman shined his light to the scrawled paint upon the wall. The black paint dripped the warning: Beware.
GET IT HERE: HERE BE DRAGONS
Carl Wayne invited me on KOXE to chat with him about Here Be Dragons and my AMAZING promo leading up to release day. Check out some fun and funky Australian sayings, chat about themes behind the book, and how you can get a FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE!
Listen below by clicking the the triangle on the left of the gray play bar.
Carl Wayne at KOXE radio has invited me to come on and chat all things fun and fantastic. And probably bookish. Tune in online live at http://koxe.com/ OR if you're in the central Texas area, check 101.3 from 8:05-8:30 AM on Friday, December 15th. I've got some exciting promotions to share with you, and you'll want to hear all the fun Carl and I have in the morning. Save the date, and set your alarms!
See you on the airwaves!
Master a mindset of excellence. You've been put on this blue sphere within this time and space for a specific number of reasons. Create success in the strength of the Lord. He's given you the opportunity to achieve great tasks, so rise to the occasion.
Let's explore our first facet of an excellence mindset: Owning your power.
In the strength of the Lord, you can do all things. God has set you in your beautiful time and space for a reason. You can do remarkably more than you know. You’re created to do good works. So as you find yourself working toward this larger, greater goal (sometimes you don't even know what it is, but you're on your way!), you will have to kick it in gear. You will be distracted, discouraged, and lonesome. But you are here, you are mighty. As a believer in our almighty God, you have the strength to move mountains. Mountains of paperwork, it may feel like at times, but you can and must do it. God’s got endless resources of patience, endurance, moxie, and hope, so lean on him to power you through late nights, empty voids of space where you need to be studying, creating, and doing your good work. He funnels these resources into our souls and fuels us toward success. The hardest part? You must keep stepping onward, in humility and intent.
This journey belongs to you. It’s not your mom’s, it’s not your brother’s, it’s not your kid’s, it’s not your teacher’s, it’s not your peer’s. It’s yours. Claim it. Own it. Rock it.
Commit to making this month purposeful, fearless, kind, generous, and fulfilling. Don’t just survive. Don’t just rush along. Don’t just doallthethings. Celebrate small moments. Kindle the fires of your soul. Refresh your belief in your purpose. Be dauntless. (And then win prizes!)
I've created the #DauntlessDecember Instagram challenge. You win the prizes! Everyone who participates every day (post a public picture on Insta/FB according to the theme and include the #dauntlessdecember hashtag, see my blog posts HERE) will be put into a drawing for some super-fun prizes. There will be books. There will be coffee. There will be awesomeness. You want these prizes. I've even gotten some fabulous authors who are adding their loot to the pile.
Let's do this, friends! COMMIT to living intentionally this month. You can do anything for one month. AND YOU COULD WIN PRIZES. Free things! For posting pictures!
Drop a comment if you're in. And remember to spread the word! The more, the merrier! (Because it's December, ha! A little Christmas/Grammar joke for ya there.)
See you in the morning with our first theme, Starlight. #dauntlessdecember
December arrives upon our doorsteps with a swishing of coattails, jingling twinkle lights, and a snappy pace in its step. The last month of our calendar year can often enter in a hurry and exit in a dash. This December, let’s be dauntless. Let’s make lists, accomplish those tasks, dwell richly within the precious moments, and delight in this wintry season’s wrapping. Maybe you’re too busy. Maybe you’re bored. Maybe you’re facing an emptier holiday season. Maybe you’re frustrated with the hustle and bustle. For those of us on every level of the playing field, let’s do December purposefully.
I’ve created an Instagram/Facebook challenge, where each day has a certain theme. What you do:
1) Save this picture!!! Use it all month.
2) The number on the challenge corresponds to the date on which you post. (December 1st, use #1, etc)
3) On that number/day, create a photo (ideally a square photo, for Instagram) related to that day’s theme.
4) Post the photo, along with a fun caption that goes with it, and be sure to include #dauntlessdecember with it! If you like, include the hashtag for the day’s theme. (#dauntlessdecember #starlight)
5) You will need to ensure your photo is public so that everyone can see your post.
6) Scroll through FB and Insta to see the other posts! "Like" and comment on the ones you enjoy!
Many people like to use books for their challenge pics. Pick a book on your shelf that has something to do with the theme, and have fun! Get some great ideas for how to set up fabulous pics by searching the #bookstagram hashtag on Instagram.
This month's daily themes:
2. Hues of Red
4. My Favorite
6. All mixed up
8. Foodie Friday
10. Silver & gold
11. Sing it
23. Warm Drink
24. Something Bold
26. Buried Treasure
27. To Boldly Go
28. Map to the Future
I will be checking Insta and FB for the hashtag, and I hope you will too! Finding friends who share common interest happens to be one fun side effect of these challenges. Also, I LOVE seeing how different people interpret the themes! I hope you will join the fun.
Commit to making this month purposeful, fearless, kind, generous, and fulfilling. Don’t just survive. Don’t just rush along. Don’t just doallthethings. Celebrate small moments. Kindle the fires of your soul. Refresh your belief in your purpose. Be dauntless.
Join me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kadeecarderink/
And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderink/
(I'll usually follow you back if you appear to be a real person and not some weird bot)
Looking forward to Dauntless December with you!
I'm meeting more and more lovely, brilliant authors because of my connection with Clean Reads publishing. One author who I've had the pleasure to meet online, Jordan Elizabeth, introduced me to her books and I've found that she has a book for almost any reader who likes a good thrill. I wanted to highlight three books I've read recently that I enjoyed so you can grab some books to add to your list! That's what a friendly recommendation is for! While Jordan Elizabeth's books fall a bit outside of my normal pick for a book (I'm more of a historical fiction or action/thriller reader), she gets five stars from me on her storytelling. Her stories roll and pitch, the imagery crackles, and her characters spring to life from the pages. I do hope you will consider trying a Jordan Elizabeth book. You'll find heroines to root for, powerful themes of identity and grit, and poignant conclusions that will leave you wanting more.
Escape From Witchwood Hollow
After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to the small town of Arnn. Honoria receives constant warnings of the dangerous forest outside Arnn, the forest named Witchwood Hollow. In the lure of Witchwood Hollow's perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.
Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.
To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness. How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?
From the first page to the last, I couldn't put down this thrilling story. While we meet a different kind of heroine, we also meet a different kind of 'witch.' One poignantly considers titles and the boxes into which we put people after reading the stories tumbling from the impenetrable borders of Witchwood Hollow.
Serena Cole can kick serious butt thanks to young women only she can see. School bullies aren’t a problem, but Serena’s mental health might be. To shield Serena from a dark secret, her family tries to convince her that her friends are imaginary.
Fleeing her distrustful aunt, Serena joins her mother on an archeological dig at Kistishi Island. There, Serena discovers an ancient scroll and realizes her invisible friends are goddesses native to the island, and they are in danger of enslavement for their abilities. Only Serena can save her friends if she can discover the past her family has hidden her entire life – the reason why only she can see the goddesses.
One Amazon reviewer stated, "I wasn't sure what to expect upon purchasing this book but then again with this author I never do." And folks, that's the truth. Jordan Elizabeth draws a story of friendship, courage, tenacity, and wonder. Our heroine must fight the label she's been given, and find her true identity in the process.
When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.
Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.
Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.
Heart-wrenching and harrowing, Edna's adventure makes you want to flip those pages and hang on to your steampunk silk hat. Jordan Elizabeth's unique manner of storytelling and world-building provide a rich story of one girl's journey to understanding her identity...and those of the others around her.
Happy reading, folks! What are some fabulous new books or authors you've discovered recently? I hope you'll comment and let me know!
Readers' Favorite announces the review of the Young Adult - Adventure book "Incomplete" by Kadee Carder, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MSABMCK.
Readers' Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the "Best Websites for Authors" and "Honoring Excellence" awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
"Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
What’s in a name? Does it define a person? Saylor is really questioning the merits of names. Her newly discovered father, the Commander, has taken disciplinary action. He doesn’t want Saylor injured in any way, and Saylor, being the reckless, headstrong young woman that she is, always finds herself at odds, not only with her father, but also with her twin brother, Logan. Someone is always getting hurt, even though Saylor claims to be looking out for everyone else’s safety and well-being. Part of the Commander’s disciplinary actions is insisting that Saylor use the name given to her at birth, Laurel. Only Saylor really doesn’t feel like a Laurel. As her growing friendship with Tuck intensifies into something more, he points out to her the importance of being herself.
“You were born one person, and another person emerged. You can either be one or the other, but not both. See how you can use the weaknesses of one to engage the other. Become someone entirely new. Decide who you want to be from here on out. That’s what a name is. Nobody can force it on you, and nobody can fulfill it except you.”
Sage advice that we could all use at times. As the drama intensifies in Kadee Carter’s second book of Saylor’s story, Incomplete, the message and the title intertwine gradually. Lots of action packed scenes drive the story forward as the twins, Saylor and Logan, keep up their mission to take down the technological devices that are not only threatening their immediately community, but the world as well. Good characterization and plot development. A compelling read."
You can learn more about Kadee Carder and "Incomplete" at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/incomplete where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.
Sensations and sights sharpen. Those molten maple pools watching me. The heat pressing against my body. Those Adonis lips parting on an inhale. The bead of sweat raking down my spine.
I lean forward, and my eyes widen the moment my next sense registers something. A scent, the kind of scent that has your head tilting reflexively, your mouth opening just a touch to see if it will land on your tongue.
I don’t know what amber smells like, but I think this could be it. Woodsy, spicy…tempting…moreish. It’s the kind of smell that makes you wish you could spend more time breathing in than out. One hand reaches out to the red plastic fender rising from the back of the bike. The moment woven cotton presses into my fingertips, rather than smooth plastic warmed by the sun, I stop. It’s all I need to return me to reality.
I take a step back, having to mentally force my nose to follow. PJ was never meant get close enough to smell, because exactly what I thought would happen just happened.
He smells as good as he looks, and I don’t need any more temptation to fight.
He’s irresistible…but she’s the one person who knows his days are numbered.
Casey’s touch can reveal the one thing a person would never want to know — the number of days they have left to live.
By the time Casey turns seventeen she’s learnt to withdraw. But the phobia she fakes in order to avoid human contact is sorely tested by hot, persistent, motorcycle riding PJ. For a girl who craves contact, maple eyed PJ is impossible to resist. When the inevitable happens, when hands, bodies and lips collide, Casey sees PJ's number, one that can only be seen as a cruel twist of fate.
Now she must decide. Will she continue counting the days of her life, or start living a life that counts?
With the memorable writing and humor of writers such as Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun blended with the attitude, chemistry and unexpected plot twists of Katie McGarry’s best sellers, Make it Count is a romance that will leave you swooning and smiling.
Make it Count (ISBN: 978-1-62135-708-7, Clean Reads Publishing) is now available at www.tamarsloan.com and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
See more about Tamar and her books at:
Purchase Your Copy: https://books2read.com/MakeitCount
Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36284190-make-it-count
I had the opportunity to ask Tamar about her new release. Check it out!
Where did you get the idea for Make It Count?
Make it Count, a young adult contemporary romance, is one of those books that comes to you at 4am (even though you just had major surgery!) and you just know it’s going to be a special story. It started with the seed – what if with one touch, a girl could see how many days a person has to live? Apart from all the heart-wrenching considerations like touching your loved ones, I knew she’d avoid touch at whatever cost. But then PJ arrived, and he was hot, and irresistible. I had to capture their chemistry, and their story.
Who's your favorite character in it?
I know this is going to be predictable, but it would have to be my heroine, Casey. I love Casey. She’s the character that is least like me so I had to really work to see the world from her perspective. I knew if anyone that had to live with seeing what Casey did, it would heart-wrenching. When Casey really showed herself, I realized it was harder for her than I could have imagined. Casey is impulsive and fun-loving and loves human interaction. Being so isolated is such a challenge for her (and the primary reason PJ’s tenaciousness is just what she needs!). Casey was the only person that could pull off Make it Count, and really glad I got to tell her happy ever after.
A school psychologist by day, Tamar channels her passion for books into creating young adult stories about discovering life and love beyond our comfort zones. She is the award-winning author of the Prime Prophecy and Touched by Love Series. Tamar is also the author of PsychWriter: where psychology meets writing, a blog that supports and extends writers.
When not reading, writing or working with teens, Tamar can be found with her ever-patient husband and two beautiful sons enjoying country life on their small acreage in the Australian bush.
(That's right my friends, Ms. Sloan lives in the Great Down Under!)
Tamar finds it deeply rewarding to share her stories and she loves to hear from her readers and fellow lovers of all things book related. You can find her at www.tamarsloan.com or on Facebook www.facebook.com.au/tamarsloanwriter or Twitter www.twitter.com/sloantamar.
At sunset, Travis and Hillerman reached St. Joseph, a smattering of buildings perched on the grassy eastern bank of the Missouri River. Thousands of people were already encamped around the frontier town. Tired as the two travelers were, the sight of countless glittering campfires sprinkled across the low rolling hills fueled them with energy. As they drew closer to the expanded town, a cacophony of guitars, banjos, and voices reached their ears. The emigrants played and sang the raucous, popular melodies of the day, as well as the occasional staid church hymn, all at the same time. Here and there the popular Christy’s Minstrels tune “Oh! Susanna” was belted out, but an intent listener would have noticed that, now and then, the destination named in the song was not Louisiana but rather California. In fact, new versions of the song had been written, in which a young man with a gold pan on his knee said goodbye to the poor forlorn Susanna and set out for the West.
~ Excerpt from WEST FROM THE CRADLE, Brigid Amos' latest release from Clean Reads! ~
If the West doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you stronger.
Travis Cooper was not meant to be a prospector. Small for his age, he has never been much help on the family farm in Missouri. How could he survive the journey west to take up such backbreaking work? But when he sees a copy of the California Star in the fall of 1848, everything changes. One shining word jumps off the page: GOLD! Now staying alive is a struggle. Keeping his partner from getting himself killed is even harder!
Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. Her first novel, A Fence Around Her, was published by Clean Reads in 2016. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the boards of Angels Theatre Company and Women Writing the West. She is also an active member the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.
I had the wonderful opportunity ask Brigid a few questions about her writing process and stories. Here's what she had to say:
Who's your favorite character in WEST FROM THE CRADLE?
My favorite character in West from the Cradle is my protagonist Travis Cooper. When I used to hike through the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Northern California, dreaming of writing a book about the Gold Rush, Travis was the first character that appeared to me. I saw this young man astride a horse, looking down from a ridge upon a valley of Ponderosa Pine, Manzanita, and Madrone. In my mind, this optimistic and enthusiastic young man had just arrived from a farm in the Midwest and was looking with hope upon his future. If you read the novel, you will imagine something quite different. Perhaps you will see Travis barely able to walk, leading the mule he purchased in Fort Laramie, all his remaining possessions packed on her back. But the enthusiasm and optimism are still there, despite all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles he has faced on the trail west. Travis is my favorite character because he rises to a challenge while remaining humble. He is a survivor while maintaining his good heart. And most importantly, he is the best kind of friend a person could have. He would risk everything, even his own life, to save his friend. Who wouldn’t love someone like that?
What are your favorite and least favorite things about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is how I feel after a productive writing session. I can only describe this feeling as euphoric. This feeling doesn’t last of course, but I know I can always get it back by opening up a notebook and clicking a pen. I suppose this is addictive behavior, but I thank God for such a healthy addiction!
There is nothing I don’t like about the actual act of writing. I even enjoy revision. However, the editing process before publication, in which every little comma must be properly placed and every adverb assessed can make writing feel like work. I think this is because at that point, there is less creativity involved. As a writer, I so appreciate those who actually enjoy editing. I was at the Nebraska Writers Guild booth on Labor Day, and a woman who told me how much she loved editing stopped by. I must have been looking at her as if she were an alien from another planet, an exotic creature whose thought process I could never understand. I’m at my best while scribbling with abandon in a notebook and everything that pours out is new and exciting. Not so much when I’m trying to make it perfect on a computer screen.
Thank you for sharing your passion for those characters and your craft, Brigid!
Brigid Amos' newest release, WEST FROM THE CRADLE, has hit shelves everywhere, and if you're a fan of historical fiction, you'll want to grab this one quick!
Click on the link below to download today!
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/west-from-the-cradle-brigid-amos/1126943650?ean=2940158732119
Join Brigid’s mailing list: http://www.brigidamos.com/mailing-list-signup.html
Like Brigid on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brigidamoswriter/?fref=ts
Follow Brigid on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Brigid_Amos
Visit Brigid’s website: http://www.brigidamos.com/
Brigid will be giving away one FREE copy of her book to one participant who comments on this blog post. Winner will be chosen at random by October 13th. Simply comment on this post to enter!
Recently I had the honor of assistant adjudicating for a manuscript pitch contest. A fellow Clean Reads author Eli Celata asked if I would help and I jumped at the opportunity. She had the brilliant idea to call the contest PitProm, and each of us would have a court -- I worked with Court Sci Fi and she managed Court Fantasy. The winning pitches would be crowned the Queen or King of PitProm and hopefully be offered contracts to get those amazing manuscripts published.
After 200 entries, with the top twenty hopefuls taking a week to work with our author mentors to edit and refresh their pitches, we ended up with a three-way tie, and Queens bowed gracefully upon the PitProm stage. Here we explore their worlds a bit more in-depth, and check out the pitches which won these ladies their crowns!
Fascinated by storytelling from a young age, author J.S. Dewes cut her teeth writing screenplays for award-winning short and feature films. A creative at heart, she loves immersing herself in the exciting realms portrayed in science-fiction and fantasy, where her aptitude for crafting imaginative tales can have free reign.
Manuscript Title: THE DIVIDE
140-Character Pitch: A castoff commander and her rebellious crew are all that stand between mankind and the universe’s collapse. #PitProm #A #SF
Who's your favorite character in your manuscript?
If I had to pick just one, I would say Cavalon, one of my two POV characters. Though I love all my characters, I had more fun writing him than anyone else. He’s the smartest guy in the room, but you would have no idea. He’s also the funniest guy in the room, and he’ll go to great lengths to make sure you’re aware of it. He’s a weird mix of humble and proud, genuine and sarcastic, defiant and cooperative. He’s also extremely willing to learn and change, and to push his boundaries, though he does get a little help from the other POV character in that regard. Their personalities play off each other in a really constructive way, and though the plot and stakes of the story are rather intense, the core of the book is really about that friendship and how the two balance each other.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is the discovery process. I love letting my characters take the reigns and lead the story in unanticipated directions. Though I really do enjoy the whole process, if I had to pick a least favorite aspect of writing, I’d say the general editing process after draft one. I’m a pantser, so for me, that initial unearthing process of finding the story is what I enjoy the most. After that point, it can be difficult to “see the forest for the trees,” though I have a group of trusted critique partners that have helped ease that process tremendously!
Jamie Rusovick-Smith is a California-born girl transplanted to the not-so-sunny state of Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, four children, and pet rabbit. When she’s not writing, reading, or plotting, you can find her shaking her groove thing at a Zumba class, baking cupcakes, or taking her brood to do anything and everything fun within a fifty mile radius of her home.
Manuscript title: THE BURN KINGDOM
140-Character Pitch: FROSTBLOOD+LABRYINTHLOST Mother Nature made fire-wielding Azara to end the world. Instead she falls for a Brujo on her hit list #YA #Pitprom
Where did you get the idea for your manuscript?
The idea behind this MS was sort of a mishmash of things: It started after a major natural disaster a while back, and everyone was asking, “Why, if there’s a God, does He let these things happen?” And my author brain went into overdrive. I thought, what if that’s exactly what was going on — He was letting things happen, but it was Mother Nature doing this to mankind. What did she have against us? What was the ultimate goal? When I overlaid those questions onto the Biblical accounts of a flooding of the earth, and the prophecy of its eventual destruction by fire, I had the bones of my story. But it really came together after I remembered the Mexican Myth of the weather-controlling Acalica. (My great grandmother was born and raised in Guadalajara Mexico, so, per tradition, monster stories were a big part of my upbringing.) I really wanted to incorporate something from my heritage, this myth especially, into the story, but I didn’t want my main character to be a wizened old man! So my amazing CP and best friend (Hi Vanessa!) suggested I gender flip it. “Make them all young women,” she said. And it was like, Ah heck yes, that’s it! The Burn Kingdom was born.
Who’s your favorite character in your manuscript?
Grimmer, my MC’s mentor that, in my brain, looks exactly like Danny Trejo. While I was writing this, he surprised me the most and I tend to have a soft spot for the characters that drop twists I never saw coming.
Katherine Toran has had short fiction published in Abyss & Apex Magazine, the Whortleberry Press anthology Strange Changes, Every Day Fiction and Short Fiction Break. She also received an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest. She’s currently working on her economics PhD at the University of Kentucky and writes fiction as a relief from the endless math jargon.
Manuscript Title: THE WITCH AND THE DEMON
140-Character Pitch: Fleeing a witchhunter, autistic Ebba sells her heart to a demon—trapping her in a deathmatch and an equally violent courtship. #PitProm #YA
Where did you get the idea for your manuscript?
I write the stories I wish someone else had written so I could read them. THE WITCH AND THE DEMON was inspired by my adoration for bad boy heroes but frustration with the genre’s clichés. I wanted to see if I could write my villainous love interest while avoiding unfortunate stalkerish implications or love triangles. My heroine, Ebba, accidentally ends up in a courtship with a demon after she throws a severed head at him. The difference between their moral values is both played for laughs and a major source of conflict throughout the book.
Who's your favorite character in your manuscript?
Kryptos, the demon, is my favorite character. As the God of Cowardice, he has a puffed-up ego and doesn’t understand humans, which makes him great fun to write.
These ladies rocked it, knocking those pitches out of the park. Each PitProm participant submitted a 140-character pitch, a query letter, and the first ten pages of their manuscript. You can see their final works at http://www.pitprom.ml/finals and see just how amazing these books are going to be.
Congratulations to all the PitProm participants -- and especially to our Queens. May you rule the 2017 PitProm Kingdom as fabulously as you can. Happy pitching everyone!
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