Monday, August 12, 2019

Kellyn interviews book characters Adele and Troy


Hello there! I’m Kellyn Roth, and today I’m honored to be allowed to post an interview with two characters from my latest series, Kees & Colliers, Adele Collier and Troy Kee.

The first book, The Lady of the Vineyard, came out in June, the second, Flowers in Her Heart, came out in July, and the third, From Now ’Til Forever, came out this August. I’m working on some spin-off novellas now!

Let’s get into the interview.

Me: First off, could you two introduce yourselves?

Adele: Of course! I’m Adele Collier, and I was born in Kent but have lived in London since I was eighteen. I love bright colors, loud noises (you know, as long as they’re not raucous), happy people, and tea. But not coffee.
Troy: And I’m Troy. I was born in London, but I … partially grew up in France. My uncle owns a vineyard. And, um, I like muted colors and no noises and—
Adele: Don’t say you like sad people just to be opposite.
Troy: I wasn’t! I do like sincere people, though. So whatever they’re feeling, let them feel it. And I like coffee. But not tea.
Adele: *sigh*

Me: Okay, you two. Next question. What are some of the most important things in life to you?

Troy: Well, God comes first, always. But my family is the most important thing on earth to me, and I do care greatly for my vineyard. And my dog. Everyone ought to have a dog.
Adele: What Troy said, except the dog and the vineyard.
Troy: Are we just going to keep answering the same things?
Adele: What did you want me to say? “Oh, no, I hate God and my family.” Of course I wasn’t going to say that.
Troy: You … have a point.

Me: Here’s something I know you’ll answer differently on. What’s one thing you learned during the course of your books that has really stuck with you?

Adele: Oh, heavens.
Troy: There’s a lot.
Adele: Definitely! I suppose I’d start with … how do I describe it? Letting go of selfishness. Focusing on God then on my family then on everything else. What love is and what it isn’t.
Troy: I learned to play the accordion.
Adele: You did not! We’re putting that thing back in the attic where it belongs.
Troy: Okay, but really, that love isn’t letting someone hurt you, that God is there even when you don’t feel Him or when you rebel … I mean, can you summarize a life in a paragraph? I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

Me: Well, we’re here to listen! But let’s move on. If you could visit any country, where would you go?

Troy: France.
Adele: But you live in France.
Troy: I like it here.
Adele: I can see that. Well, I’d probably visit Italy or New York.

Me: What are your thoughts on animals? Do you have a favorite?

Adele: I might like a nice quiet cat. And horses are sweet, too—I always wanted a pony when I was small. But I’m not really an animal person overall. Especially dogs.
Troy: This is why you are such a horrible person.
Adele: TROY!
Troy: Who wouldn’t love dogs? Dogs are great! They’re man’s best friend.
Adele: Well, maybe they’re just not this woman’s best friend.
Troy: Hmph.


Me: Favorite colors?

Adele: Blue.
Troy: Brown.
Adele: No comment.
Troy: It’s a warm and pleasant color. Like chocolate and dirt.

Me: And our last question for today: what do you like most about the other? (I’m trying to banish your constant negativity.)

Troy: Well, definitely not her dislike of dogs, coffee, and all other very important things.
Adele: Oh, shush, you. I’ll go first if you’re going to be stubborn. I love his sense of honor and his sense of humor, and I love that he is strong and trustworthy and loving even when I’m, well, difficult. And he’s a good dad.
Troy: Well, gosh, you’re going to make me cry.
Adele: Be serious. I was.
Troy: *deep breath* I’ve always thought I’ve loved everything about her, but I think if I had to pick a favorite thing, it would definitely be the intensity she throws herself into everything. Sometimes that’s not good—but oftentimes, it is. That means she can be a warrior, and I’m proud of her for that. It’s passivity, no matter what it’s in, that you have to look for.
Adele: Aw!

***

And that’s the interview! Before you go, I have a giveaway … a paperback copy of the first book in the Kees & Colliers series, The Lady of the Vineyard! And some bookmarks, of course. Can’t live without ’em.


Well, that’s it for today! Thanks for reading this post.


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Given Hoffman on The Eighth Ransom


Given, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here! I’m a Minnesota writer and novelists, who loves suspense and stories with significance. I’m passionate about homeschooling and about mentoring and encouraging young adults in their faith. I have been pursuing fiction writing for ten years. Due to my love of homeschooling and my involvement with my state’s homeschool organization, I took on a non-fiction project and compiled the book The Voices of the Pioneers: Homeschooling in Minnesota. After that I shifted back to fiction, a friend also got me started writing flash fiction. In 2016, I authored the flash fiction stories: “FBI Apprehends Mole” and “Mrs. Fanny Delmor” both published by Splickety. I launched my first novel in October of 2018, and so (after ten years of learning and investing) really I am just getting started. So to all you who are still dreaming and hoping, don’t quit. If writing is a gift God has given you, He will use it.

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
My mother always told us kids, “Anything you put your mind to, you can do.” Out of the five of us kids, I was always the one saying, “I can’t.” “I can’t learn to read.” “I can’t do math.” “I can’t figure out paper writing.” Etc. I was easily overwhelmed and would often throw up my hands and declare the pursuit impossible. At which point my mother would start her simple yet powerful campaign: “I know you can do this. You can do anything you set your mind to.” I learned far more than school because of her unique approach.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Homeschooling gave me the foundation for writing: grammar, spelling, etc.  But most of all homeschooling introduced me to reading. My mother read YA historical fiction to us on our homeschool lunch breaks, and I read all kinds of fiction, everything from Nancy Drew to Stephen Lawhead. With the flexibility of homeschooling, my mother took me to my first writers guild when I was sixteen and my first writers conference the following year. Being introduced to the world of professional authors and getting to learn from them at conferences grew my writing skills by leaps and bounds.

What caused you to start writing?
I’ve always had trouble falling asleep, and one night about mid-high school I got this scene stuck in my head. In the next couple of months that scene snowballed into the plot of a contemporary suspense novel. I couldn’t help myself. I started writing a book.

What inspired The Eighth Ransom?
To be honest, I never set out with the intention to be a young adult suspense novelist (which is now ultimately my market). My first book was an adult suspense novel based around white collar crime in Chicago. I was a total novice determined to get published. I pitched to publishers and got rejected over and over, but each time I learned something. Eventually, I had a couple of different publishers interested enough to request my manuscript. None of their interest turned into a publishing contract, but one of the reasons they said they were rejecting my work was because they didn’t feel a teenager (which I was at the time) could market a book to adults. So I started brainstorming book ideas with teenage protagonists. That eventually lead me to write The Eighth Ransom. My inspiration for the book was the question: “What would happen if a bunch of teenagers from different backgrounds, worldviews, families, etc. got thrown together and had to work together to save themselves and others? Could they do it?” It grew from there into the story of the kidnapping of eight young people whose ransoms play a part in an international plot against the US.
As a writer you’re often unsure whether you’ve accomplished your goal in your writing. For me that confirmation came from an independent reviewer from Readers’ Favorite. She wrote about The Eighth Ransom, “This story was so much more than I expected, and the characters with their individual problems and attitudes were very well done!”  You can view her full review here.

Would you give us a synopsis?
The Eighth Ransom focuses on two main characters: Trent Soris and Ashley Rye. Trent is the eighteen-year-old son of a single mom who has just gotten married. He isn’t coping well with being dumped into a new life with a stepfather, step-sister, and rules that are definitely cramping his style. He’s pushing his mother for information about his birth father and trying hard to drive his stepfather away.
Ashley, on the other hand, is a seventeen-year-old homeschooler who has grown up in a solid home with both parents and four siblings. With a stay-at-home mom and a dad who’s a private pilot, Ashley’s biggest stressors are deciding what major to choose for college and how to survive being the center of attention at her graduation party. But that’s before she’s kidnapped and held for ransom.
Unlike the seven others who are taken, Trent wasn’t one of the kidnappers’ targets. In the wrong place at the wrong time, he doesn’t have a ransom. He figures he must either escape or find a way to make himself important to their kidnappers otherwise he might be the only one not going home. But when escape proves futile and all eight of them face the possibility of not making it out alive, they find enough common ground and attempt working together to figure out who’s behind their kidnappings and how they can fight back.

You can watch The Eighth Ransom’s Book Trailers here.

Who will enjoy The Eighth Ransom?
My target audience for The Eighth Ransom is Young Adults age 12-19, particularly teen boys (since The Eighth Ransom is a suspense-driven action adventure that does not include romance). As far as who has enjoyed it? I’ve had a variety of people (kids, parent, and even grandparents) who have all liked it.

Where can people buy your book?
I’d recommend going to my website GivenHoffman.com and following the buy link directly to my publisher’s sales site, but you can also find The Eighth Ransom on Amazon, Barns & Noble, iBooks, etc.

Do you plan to write more books?
Yes, I’m currently in the process of editing the first book in my new period medieval trilogy written for teenage boys. I will also be continuing to write contemporary suspense, similar in style to The Eighth Ransom, and I do have plans to someday write a sequel to The Eighth Ransom, though both would remain stand-alone novels.

Where can people connect with you online?
My website is a great place to learn more about me and subscribe to my email newsletter to get updated on my book discounts, book news, and events. I also have a list of resources for writers on my website and a link to my blog on practical Christianity.
My public author Facebook page is a good place to connect and contact me.
I’m on twitter .
You can also find me on Pinterest, where I’ve collected pictures of some of the places and things I mention in The Eighth Ransom.

Do you have any final thoughts?
As a final thought, I would say strive after the calling God has given you (whether that’s writing or something else entirely), and don’t let the expectations or judgements of other people keep you from doing what you know God has called you to do. I’ve wanted to give up many times because of the way others have responded to me as a writer. Even after my book was published people would say things like, “Wow, this is actually good.” As if they are surprised I really had something to offer. But we ALL have something to offer. So my exhortation to you all is don’t ever hide away the gifts God has given you. Be who God created you to be. To quote McNair Wilson, one of my past writing instructors, “When you don’t do you, the world is incomplete. But when you do you, you inspire me.” I hope we can all learn to embrace who God has made us to be and inspire others to do the same.
Thank you again for the opportunity to be here. God bless!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Naomi Jackson on Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are

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Naomi, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, thank you for having me! I’m Naomi Jackson, a proud homeschool graduate and the author of two children’s books—Hobo Stew and Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are.

Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
One thing that made my homeschooling experience a little different is that for a time I was bedridden. I have a couple of chronic conditions, from about eleven through almost thirteen I really struggled physically. Being able to learn when I was able and fit lessons around my much bigger physical needs made homeschooling a really good fit for me and a huge blessing.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
You know, being homeschooled often means that not only are you a student, but you also function as your own teacher sometimes. That aspect of being homeschooled taught me how to be self-motivated and to set my own schedule and pace myself.  I think those skills have been some of the most important to my work, because being a freelancer means you are your own boss.

What caused you to start writing?
I started writing when I was seven for a school assignment, and I’ve not stopped since!

What inspired Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are?
Otherworld grew out of my love for children’s fantasy and my desire to sort of put a whole bunch of magical places and characters together and see what would happen. When I started writing Otherworld, I thought it was just going to be this amazing joy ride. You know, a sweet and simple story. In the end, though, there are some very bittersweet moments in it. I think it ended up being a lot more about the love and loss between siblings than I knew it would be.

Would you give us a synopsis?
Sure! Here’s the back of the book description:
Someone is granting Mavis’ wishes.
Desperately tired of being bed-ridden, Mavis wished she could go on an adventure. That very night, a ticket appears on her pillow. Train 627 is departing the garden shed at midnight—or so it appears. The destination?
Otherworld
Otherworld is better than Mavis or even Roger could have imagined. There’s the train station and the Gullumgall’ad’s Cave and the Moon. There are Lay Agatha and Esperanza and Harnswiggle and Bollygoggle. Even better, there are so many stops left to explore!
Unfortunately, Mavis makes a dangerously careless wish. And Roger does a very brave and yet very foolish thing to save her.
Will they be able to find The Book of Things That Are and change what is written in time?

Who will enjoy Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are?
You! xD But in all seriousness—Otherworld is a children’s fantasy marked for eight to twelve-year-olds that is being enjoyed by entire families. So it’s cliché, but it really is a book for the young and the young at heart!

Where can people buy your book?
Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are and my first book, Hobo Stew, are both available on Amazon.com.

Do you plan to write more books?
Yes! I am writing a new book currently and have a tentative publishing date of October 2019.

Where can people connect with you online?
You can find my blog at naomijacksonwrites.com. There are some cool short stories published there so you’re really going to want to check it out!

I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for those of you who like to hang out on social media!


Do you have any final thoughts?
Homeshcooling was a great opportunity for me, and I’m very grateful to my parents for investing so much time in my education. So I’d just like to say to all the homeschooling moms and dads reading this—keep going! It’s so, so worth it.
And to all of the homeschooling students considering going into writing themselves—read as much as you possibly can and write as much as you possibly can. It’s the best advice I’ve ever been given for this career!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Amariah Dixon on How the Magic Began

*post contains affiliate links*

Amariah, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Amariah Dixon, and I am a homeschool graduate.  I was born and raised in Carrollton, GA.  I am a senior at the University of West Georgia.  I enjoy archery, reading as many books as I can, and spending time with family and friends.

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
I attended a homeschool academy called Lighthouse Classical Academy.  It was a rigorous, classical education program which was excellent preparation for college.  We put on our own plays and learned about many different topics, including those which are not typically taught in other schools. 

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
I had a wonderful teacher, who also happened to be a close friend of our family, come to my house to teach me high school English and grammar, which paved the way to help me realize just how much I enjoyed writing and that it was something I really wanted to do.

What caused you to start writing?
I have always loved telling stories as a child, and would draw the characters for them.  Eventually, I decided to write these stories down on paper. 

What inspired How the Magic Began ~ The Star?
It just came to me one day while at a friend’s house when I was about 11.  Drawings that I created also played a big part in the characters.  Growing up, I lived in the woods, and so this, along with the adventures I had as a child—traveling, reading various books, being with family—had a significant effect on me.

Would you give us a synopsis?
Riley is an ordinary boy living an ordinary life . . . until something extraordinary happens. One morning, just like any other, Riley wakes up, begins to get ready for school, looks in the mirror and . . . he sees the image of a star around his eye! Why has he been marked with this symbol and for what purpose? Everything begins to change soon after as he and his friend, Kelly, stumble upon a door in the forest which leads to a fantastical world, a world inhabited by very unusual beings. As they explore, they encounter two creatures who become their companions; one is a benevolent little vampire by the name of Joseph—fortunately, he is not the bloodthirsty type, and the other is a kindhearted “mizzer” named Kelvin. Together, the four travel to the Zefan castle, and shown hospitality by the princess who resides there and rules the land. Upon entering Zefa, Riley is oblivious that he is being hunted down by a demonic evil of another world. The same being who, many years before, had sent forth his minion to wipe out the “People of the Symbol” civilization. When he does learn about this, however—and with the help of an elder magician named Dorobonn—Riley is determined to somehow bring back the civilization and to find out why he has been mysteriously marked with this symbol . . . despite the many threats that block his path and are determined to do away with him.

Who will enjoy How the Magic Began? 
Preteens, Young Adults, Adults of any age — anyone who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and Christian Fiction.

Where can people buy your book?
Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Do you plan to write more books?
Yes.  I am actually hoping to have the sequel to this series published in the fall.  I am currently working on the third book as well.

Where can people connect with you online?
I have a Goodreads account and, https://sites.google.com/a/my.westga.edu/how-the-magic-began-the-star/, which is my blog.

Do you have any final thoughts?
Writing is a skill in which I give glory to God for.  I wish to reach out to people with my.  I do it for entertainment, but most of all, as a way to point to the Lord.  The people in my life have contributed greatly to my stories, and have helped me significantly!  I am thankful for what they do and for all the blessings God has given me.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Kelsey and Rebekah chat about King's Ward

Kelsey Bryant and Rebekah Stargazer chat together and answer questions about E. Kaiser Writes's new book King's Ward! which released today and is now available on Amazon!  https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Ward-Five-Gems-Book/dp/1795056118




What do you think the most impactful aspect of King's Ward is?
Rebekah: Fia never gives up, no matter how hard her life gets. And that was pretty cool to watch, don't you think?

Kelsey: Yes! I think that was the most impacting aspect of the book, too. Fia comes across as an ordinary girl, like the rest of us, and yet she holds fast to her duty and to what is right and that turns into extraordinary results. Pretty inspiring!

About the depth of King's Ward... Fia goes through really hard things. I can't say too much and give away the plot, but just the beginning where she has to leave all that's familiar would be a difficult situation for anyone. And that's the easiest situation she faces. The others get progressively more serious, even life-or-death. But she deals with each one in stride, even though they're overwhelming. She relies on God. King's Ward is deep because it delves into her mind and heart as she learns to overcome.


What was your favorite aspect?
Rebekah: My favorite aspect of King's Ward is the setting with the grasslands and the village. I also loved that Fia is starting to step out into her role as something like a spy.

Kelsey: I have to give two of my favorite aspects just like you did, Rebekah. And they're very similar to yours. One is the wonderful world-building. Erlandia is a Hungarian-esque horse nation on the grasslands and feels so real! Then I also loved Fia's development and her interactions with her friends and family. I'm curious, Rebekah, what was your favorite part of the Erlandian culture? Mine was the way they rode so many horses at one time!

Rebekah: The horses thing was definitely cool! I just loved the horsey-ness of the culture--the cavalry, the rodeo-like competitions, how easily and how well the people ride them. It was pretty epic. I also loved their clothes--I know that sounds shallow, but I grew up with a Hungarian book with illustrations and so the clothes at the festival in King's Ward brought back images of those dresses and jackets and it was kind of nostalgic.


What did you think of the villain?
Rebekah: The villain. . . is a creep. A complete and total creep. But deep down inside me I felt sorry for him. There were a lot of feels involved. This story really shows that there is just no joy in seeing even the worst villains get their due.

Kelsey: I was rather dismayed to see the villain up to his tricks again. He's so good at getting out of binds that until the last, I wasn't sure what would happen with him. And I know what you mean, Rebekah, I did feel a little sorry for him. Fia's thoughts about him showed how his deluding of himself caused so many problems, which is a warning for the rest of us. I can't help but think about what he could have been like if he had chosen to take the right path for his life.

Rebekah: Yes, the story definitely leaves us with things to think about, as well as being a fun and enjoyable story.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Sale!

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Get Jeweler's Apprentice for free HERE

Get Traitor's Knife for $0.99 HERE

Eight Reasons Why I Loved Traitor's Knife (Guest Post)


Note: This post contains a Word Puzzle Giveaway! There is one letter to find in each of the below paragraphs and the total of eight letters form two words. Your only other clue: this is a lot easier than it sounds.  To enter, sign up for E. Kasier Writes's Newsletter: https://ekaiserwrites.webs.com/contact and leave the answer to the puzzle in the comments! Everyone who signs up and solves the puzzle will win a printable PDF coloring page from E. Kaiser Writes's Horses of the Elements Coloring Book.
Eight Reasons Why I Loved Traitor's Knife: Five Gems Book 2
(review by Rebekah Stargazer)

1) Fia, our brave heroine! She's brave and has spunk, but she's just a sixteen-year-old girl. She'll cook and do laundry and watch other people's children with the most ordinary of them. But her knack for overhearing other peoples conversations can be . . . quite dangerous. She's a lovable heroine and I was so rooting for her.

2) Ilido, the stable boy! A little mysterious, a little grave, and a lot sweet. He can also be quite sad and keeps secrets. And he just might be in a lot of danger. I absolutely loved him and he melts my heart.

3) Varied characters! Unique and intriguing characters wander around between the pages of this book. From the old woman who is the master jeweler, to little orphaned children, a Spymaster, a princess, a dangerously curious sister, a cook, the jeweler master's middle-aged son, and the new messenger. Each of the characters has their own personality and adds something cool to the story. There are many plot twists and turns, and some interesting developments regarding certain characters. And one of them . . . may be a traitor. There are a lot of feels involved!

4) Everything about the setting! Snow, pines, sheer icy cliff-side paths. This book will make you feel like it's winter outside. And there's even a deadly snow leopard.

5) Gorgeous jewelry. Fia, our resident jeweler's apprentice, comes into contact with a lot of beautiful gems. I loved reading about her learning the craft of jewelry making and watching her etch designs in wax for practice. There are a lot of lovely details in this book! <3 p="">
6) Equines are everywhere. So many cute horses! If you're a horse girl you will love the horsey-ness. If you know zilch about horses (*cough*me*cough*), you're in for an education. But either way you will LOVE our horsey hero, Happy. Fia rides him a lot and he is such a fun animal to read about!
7) Much fun. The characters, the dialogue, the mystery and the unwinding plot threads make for a very enjoyable read. There is even a large dose of suspense!

8) Summing up: this book has adventure, friendship, snow, feels, horses, betrayal, secrets, spies, danger, and a dash of faith! It's a rollicking read best enjoyed by teen girls, but there's no reason why the whole family wouldn't love it too. It's 100% squeaky clean, but there is a bit of blood and some action/fighting. It's a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I think you will too. :)