Crannig Castle Character Spotlight: Jonathan

Another fine indie novel hit the shelves this week. We’re celbrating the release of Morgan Huneke’s latest book, Crannig Castle, by learning about one of the characters. This post is one of many in this week’s blog tour, so be sure to check out some of the other posts. Also be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to find a link to enter a giveaway.

crannig-castle

Jonathan

Physical Appearance: Short, average weight, brown hair, gray eyes.

Physical Appearance: Short, average weight, brown hair, gray eyes.

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Author Interview: Sandra Orchard

Remember I promised you a cool interview with Sandra Orchard? Here it is! Sandra was kind enough to follow through with this interview even though she was on her way to be with her grandson who had an extremely serious accident. (Check out her Facebook page to learn how to pray for little Jed.)

If you missed my review of Sandra’s novel, A Fool and His Monet, check it out now! 🙂

Sandra Orchard Banner

If I was going to write a mystery, the art crime specialty division wouldn’t be the first thing I reached for! What made you aware of/interested in writing about it?

I read a newspaper article about the detective who founded Montreal’s art crime unit, which led me to research the FBI’s Art Crime Team and read the biography of its founder. I sensed immediately there was lots of fodder for potential mysteries. I’ve even read a couple of biographies and blogs of (former) art thieves.

What’s your favorite thing about museum-quality art and why?

The sense of stepping back in time and experiencing a different era or ethos.

What non-fiction (or fiction!) book(s) would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more?

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures 
by Robert K Wittman.

There are many others, but that is a good place to start.

If Serena time-traveled to the civil war, what role do you think she’d play in the war?

Hmm, she’d probably be a spy or scout.

What else would you like readers to know about yourself and your Serena Jones books?

My next Serena Jones novel, Another Day, Another Dali, is dedicated to my grandson Jed who inspired a character in the book. That dedication was written long before the tragic accident that recently left him struggling for survival. Prayers for his recovery would be greatly appreciated. The novel releases in October.

A great big ‘thank you’ to Sandra for being here today. I’m going to have to check out that book she recommended! What about you? Do you enjoy art? Does the idea of being an art crime detective intrigue you?

Author Interview: Samara’s Peril

Samara's Peril Tour BannerWhen I received the invitation to be part of the Samara’s Peril blog tour, I submitted my author interview questions and waited eagerly to receive Jaye’s replies. I really wanted to know which characters she’d pick to play which roles in her wedding!

Jaye L Knight

What did writing Samara’s Peril teach you about life?

Actually, I think it was more the opposite—that life taught me how to write Samara’s Peril. The last several years of my life have had quite a few ups and downs. There’s been a lot of emotions to deal with. But the one thing I’ve learned through all of that is to really cling to faith, no matter how painful it is. So much of Ilyon Chronicles was born out of these emotions and struggles, especially with my main character, Jace. He really sinks into despair in this book, yet it’s when he reaches his lowest that he finally finds the hope he’s always looked for. That is often true in life.

Clinging to faith and trusting God no matter what is something I’ve been learning lately too. It’s encouraging to see that struggle (and the benefits of it) play out in characters’ lives!

What’s one piece of advice you’d give people about pushing through hard times–especially as a writer, but for other things too.

Never give up or lose faith. I know, it is so easy to do, and there are times where you don’t really want to care anymore, but even if you slip, keep hanging on. This can be applied to both life and being a writer. Being a writer is scary. You bare your soul for anyone to see and might get crushed a little sometimes, but keep pushing forward. With every book I’ve ever published, including Samara’s Peril, there are inevitably times I start to worry it’s not good enough—that I’m not a good writer. That can be really hard, but just keep going.

Hmm. I admit this question was largely for myself because I’ve been struggling to make progress on the sequel to Counted Worthy. I’m going to have to take this to heart!

If the characters of Samara’s Peril were going to be in your wedding, what roles would they play?

Good question. Well, supposing my fiancé (are you out there anywhere? ;), was cool with anything I chose, Jace and Kyrin would definitely be part of my wedding party. Kaden too. Meredith would be the flower girl, and I would definitely have Talas and some of his crete friends do the music. 🙂 Lenae would probably be in charge of the food. Oh, and I would have Timothy do the ceremony.

Meredith is so perfect to be the flower girl! ❤

In upcoming books, which character’s personality arc are you most looking forward to?

Daniel! 😀 He gets a whole storyline dedicated to him in book four, so I’m really looking forward to sharing that. Also, Jace, of course. He changes a lot in Samara’s Peril, but it doesn’t stop there. I love watching him continue to grow throughout the series.

Oooh! My brother and I have been hoping for Daniel to get more screen time.

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Author Interview: Morgan Huneke

Today isEspionage the release day for Morgan Elizabeth Huneke’s novel, Espionage! I’m excited to share her answers to a few interview questions.

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Without further ado…

If you were to create a devotional based off Espionage, what would the theme be?

Forgiveness and mercy. I don’t want to elaborate too much—if I do, I’ll give away the ending—but it’s a very important topic for the book, one I certainly did not put in there intentionally. No one deserves mercy. Absolutely no one. But that’s what makes it so much greater.

How did writing this book grow you as a person?

Well, it did help me to better understand the messages of forgiveness and mercy. None of the theological elements in the book were things I didn’t already know, but sometimes you know things with your head and not your heart. It’s tough to forgive someone who has wronged you. It’s tough to show mercy to someone who sought to ruin your life. But the consequences of not showing mercy are so much worse. Dying without Jesus is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. That last point really hit home for me when a relative died several years ago, and writing Espionage brought it back up and helped me to share just a bit of that. (Now, the two incidents are slightly different because I did care about the relative and I don’t like the character.)

Pick one of your favorite characters from Espionage. If s/he found an abandoned infant, how would s/he react? How does his/her backstory impact this reaction?

I’ll pick Kyle, though I think his reaction would be much the same as Vannie’s. He would take the baby home and take care of its needs right off. He would try to find out who the baby belonged to and why it was abandoned. If it was simply because the family was too poor to support it, he would provide them with what they needed. If the family truly didn’t want the baby, he would find a loving Christian family to adopt it. This is where he differs from Vannie, because Kyle’s home life is too terrible for him to bring someone else into it, and Vannie’s is secure and happy enough that she’d want her parents to be the ones to adopt the baby. How Kyle’s backstory impacts it. Mostly because he knows what it’s like to be neglected and unwanted. As nobility, he’ll never be physically abandoned, but he knows emotional abandonment well. And he’d never wish that on anyone else.

What do you want readers to know about yourself and Espionage?

Growing up involved in politics had a huge impact on this book. The whole conflict in the book is sparked by an alliance controversy. And that political side of things is very important to me. However, this is more of a personal book. It’s about family and friendship. About always doing what’s right. And about showing mercy. It’s a book that means a lot to me, and I hope it means a lot to you too.

About Espionage

“Sir Roland has invited us to visit for the Autumn Feast.”

“Do we have to go, Papa? I couldn’t feast with the most crooked politician in all of Briznom.”

As the daughter of a Briznomian vassal lord, Vannie Cumberland has spent her childhood immersed in the world of politics. Relations between Briznom and the neighboring country of Calhortz are strained due to the tyrannical rule of the strytes. A proposed alliance could calm relations between the two countries, but would come at the cost of Briznom’s freedom.

When her father’s political archenemy invites them to the Autumn Feast, Vannie uncovers an evil scheme endangering the life of someone close to her. Personal enmity comes to a dangerous head as Vannie struggles to expose the corruption and stop the alliance. Time is running out.

Events are becoming too big for her to handle. Will Sir Roland’s son help or will things finally spiral out of control?

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About Morgan

Morgan ElizabethMorgan Huneke_author Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

 

Giveaway

Join in the excitement of Espionage and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive a signed copy of Espionage. The second and third prize winners will receive an eCopy of Espionage in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

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Author Interview: Steve Rzasa

Steve Rzasa Back in November, I reviewed two sci-fi novels, The Word Reclaimed and The Word UnleashedAuthor Steve Rzasa was kind enough to answer a few questions for an author interview. Enjoy!

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Welcome to Leah’s Bookshelf, Steve! Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself? 

Steve Rzasa here. I’m a librarian and recovering journalist, educated at Boston University and a native of New Jersey—more specifically, the region we natives call “South Jersey.” It matters. I’ve lived there, Massachusetts, Maine, and my current locale of Wyoming. My wife is a teacher and we have two boys in middle school grades. Those boys are my biggest fans and when I come out with a new book, they’re ready to read. Does a dad’s heart good.

 

What do you write, why do you write it, and what inspires you?

I primarily write science-fiction, though I’ve also written steampunk, fantasy, and a superhero novel (the latter of which has yet to be finished). These genres all appeal to me because of their fantastical qualities. They make people dream, and exercise the imagination to the max. Most of my inspiration comes from history. There’s so many stories you can adapt from historical accounts and figures that it boggles the mind. I also draw inspiration from the real science advances these days.

Of course, with all my books, I try to touch on Biblical themes and the sovereignty of God. That is a vital theme that you can expect to find in all my work, whether blatant or subtle. Reader be warned.

 

What kind of research did you do while creating the world and tech of the Face of the Deep series? What are some neat facts you learned and how did you find out about them?

Ironically, most of my research was old-school. I read current and back issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics to glean near-future technologies and expand on ideas there into far-future concepts. For the Realm of Five, I played around with some historical governments and did my best to adapt that to a spacefaring confederacy/kingdom. One neat fact I learned was the existence of experimental plastics that, when electrical currents are applied, expand into a hardened shape. That formed the aerowings used by the Starkweather Lancers.

 

If Baden had to chose an alias, what would it be?

Given his sense of humor and newfound appreciation for the written Word, I’d say “Bill Tyndale,” in honor of the original Bible smuggler.

 

I know you have at least one cool new book in the works. Tell us about what you’re working on now and what we should be looking to add to our bookshelves in the future. 🙂

The real question is, what haven’t I been working on? Let’s see: I finished my rough draft of The Word Endangered, the follow-up in The Face of the Deep that continues the adventure 10 years later in the same story universe. Enclave Publishing will release it in July. I’m also self-publishing a novel tentatively titled For Us Humans, which is an alternate modern day of Earth occupied by aliens. There’s another sci-fi project I’m beginning this winter which is top secret, for now, but should be out in early spring. Add to that some short story plans and another book idea I started on a couple weeks ago, and it adds up to a very busy—but happy!—writer.

P.S. Steve gave me some inside info that he’s signed the contract for The Word Endangered to be published by Enclave Publishing in July 2016 and turned it over to an editor.

Thanks for the interview, Steve! 

Do you have any questions for Mr. Rzasa?

Author Interview: Jaye L. Knight

The King's Scrolls Tour BannerIt’s been a long time since I did an author interview, so for those of you who enjoy author interviews, today is a day for celebration! 🙂 Jaye L. Knight (previously known as Molly Evangeline) was putting together a blog tour for her newest release, so I signed up to host an author interview. Hopefully you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed coming up with the questions. Having done a bunch of interviews for the publication of Counted Worthy, I know how repetitive questions can become, so I wanted to give Jaye something fun to answer and us something fun to read. 🙂

  1. Who is your ideal reader? Describe the person who would most enjoy the Ilyon Chronicles.

My goal when I first published Resistance was to have a series geared toward new adult/college aged readers. I personally love young adult fiction, but sometimes you wish the characters were closer to your age. So Ilyon Chronicles is ideally for readers 18-25+ who enjoy YA fiction, but are looking for older, more mature characters. 🙂

 

  1. If Jace and Kyrin could pick one person, dead or alive (but from their world), to spend a day with, who would it be and why?

Well, Jace would probably choose his mother (and I can’t say whether she’s alive or dead as that’s for a future book). He doesn’t know anything about her, but I know he would like to find out where he came from and what his past is. As for Kyrin, I think she would choose her deceased grandfather, Jonavan Altair. For most of her life she was taught to believe he was a traitor, but since she found out he wasn’t, she would definitely like to get to know him. Especially since she lacks a close relationship with her other grandfather.

 

  1. What are Jace and Kyrin, respectively, most afraid of?

Besides losing loved ones, I think Jace’s greatest fear boils down to rejection, especially being rejected by Elôm (God). It terrifies him, really. As for Kyrin, she’s most afraid to lose her loved ones. She’s so close to different members of her family as well as Jace. She would give up anything else, but losing someone she loves would crush her.

 

  1. Which of your “good guy” characters would be most likely to rob a bank if teleported into our world?

Haha! Oh my goodness, that is so funny. I have no idea why, but the first person to jump into my mind is Kaden. I really don’t know why. But, giving it a bit more thought, I could see Daniel doing it. Maybe more so than Kaden.

 

  1. If you could chose to spend a day with one of your characters, which one would it be and what would you do together?

This is so hard because I could choose so many for different reasons, but I would probably have to go with Jace. He is, after all, my favorite character I’ve ever written. I’d take him to one of my favorite places to go hiking and spend the day in the woods exploring. (And keeping out of sight of his fangirls, lol!) I’d see how much I could learn from him since he knows so much about the forest.

Enjoy the interview? Visit Jaye’s blog to enter her release giveaway. She’s got a pretty cool package of stuff for one lucky winner.
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Announcing the Winner…

Golden TrophieThanks to everyone who entered this giveaway. The response the the Peter’s Angel giveaway was an encouragement to both me and the author. The winner of the free books is….

Jennifer!

Congratulations, Jennifer.

As a way of saying thank you to the rest of you who entered the giveaway, Aubrey has created a special discount code for you. If you follow this link (https://www.createspace.com/3988112) and use this discount code (PY9A6748) you will get $4 off your own copy of Peter’s Angel. How’s that for awesome?! If any of you read it, I’d love to hear what you think.

Thanks again for your interest, and don’t forget to come back on the February 15th to enter a giveaway for Shadow of the Almighty.

Author Interview: Aubrey Hansen

Girl SilhoutteToday Aubrey Hansen is joining us to answer a few questions. Just to let you know, the girl in this picture is not Aubrey. It’s a stand-in picture so you have someone to look at. 😉 Enjoy the interview.

What gave you the idea for “Peter’s Angel”
Once upon a time, Peter’s Angel was actually my attempt to salvage a LEGO fanfic I’d written years ago. It was one of my earliest works, but I thought the plot and characters had potential, so I wanted to “recycle” them into something original I could publish. It took many drafts and revisions to get the story into the shape it is now, but, believe it or not, that’s how it started! As for where I got the idea for the original fanfic, I have absolutely no idea. (Interesting tidbit–the original fanfic was actually futuristic sci-fi.)

What is the most interesting fact or story you discovered while researching for this book?
Oh, that’s a tough question. I’m fascinated by the era as a whole, and there’s so much to discover in history. Recently however I have begun delving more into the life of Aaron Burr, and I’m utterly intrigued by the drama and excitement of his enigmatic adventures. It almost makes me sad that my “altering” of history in Peter’s Angel involved killing Burr off!

Do you have a favorite character from “Peter’s Angel”?
I love them all except Peter. And sometimes Mariah gets on my nerves. But to be more specific, Edwin has long been my cherished favorite, until just recently when I started favoring Mark. Don’t tell Edwin that–he’s been through enough heartache and doesn’t need to add rejection by his author to his list of woes!

What are some of the challenges and rewards of self-publishing?
Self-publishing is driven by instant gratification and control. Unlike traditional publishing, where an author is dependent on and answers to a publisher, self-publishing is completely within the hands of the author. The only person you’re depending on or waiting for is yourself. If you’re willing to take control and push yourself, nothing stands between you and a self-published book. By the same token, then, self-publishing puts all the weight of creating a quality product on the author. Cover design, editing, formatting, and so on are all your responsibility. You can’t just focus on the writing; you have to think like a publisher, marketer, and more. It can be very time-consuming, and I’m still learning how to manage it all.

What message would you like readers to take away from this book?
I have no earthly clue. To be honest, I don’t know all the themes and messages that Peter’s Angel may present. My goal with writing this book was not to present a message but to explore my own thoughts. Some reviewers have noted that the narrative of the book is littered with characters asking questions; that’s me talking, asking questions, expressing doubts, and giving no answers. Peter’s Angel was a personal journey in which I explored themes that were pressing on my heart–criminal justice, suicide, romance, and others. I don’t know all the answers; as such, it’s up to the reader to decide for themselves what they believe.

There is one message, however, that I hope will shine through when the tale is done: “There is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)

Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
Writers always harp about how much we appreciate reviews of our books, but there’s one element people often overlook when writing (and requesting) reviews–detail! A good review of a book is detailed and specific. Don’t just tell us that you loved it (or hated it); tell us why! I say this not only as a writer, but also as a reader. As a writer, I need to know what people liked or disliked about my books so I can build on my strengths and learn from my mistakes. As a reader, I want to know what to expect. Why is this book worth my time? Tell me why and sell me on it!

If you have any questions or comments for Aubrey, leave her a comment!