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Book Lists

Author Interview with Joanna White

I have the privilege of helping out with the release of Hunter by Joanna White by having an author interview. As I learned more about her, I was impressed with how much we have in common. I’ll let you decide, but first, what’s the hub-bub about?

The Blurb

A reckless young woman named Averella does what no woman has ever done. She disguises herself as a man and purposefully gets herself arrested and thrown into Zagerah.

Her brother Gabriel was taken, and with his disease, he will not survive on his own. She has no idea what to expect inside the prison; all she knows is that once men get taken, they never come back.

The Hunters will find her. Genetically altered to be faster and stronger than humans, the Hunters use their powers to find and kill every prisoner who enters Zagerah. The only ones who can defeat them, are in fact, themselves.

Jared is a Hunter. It’s all he’s known, all he remembers. He kills ruthlessly and without regret, one prisoner after another. When a new prisoner Dalex shows up, everything begins to change. Jared goes undercover to make Dalex and the other prisoners believe he is one of them, a prisoner himself.

No one knows the truth. He will trick them. Toy with them. Then, he will kill them.

Let’s learn more about the author.

The Interview

Tea or Coffee?

Tea for sure! I find coffee very disgusting. I mean, I can’t even stand the smell. I used to drink sweet tea all the time – literally – but recently I’ve switched to only water and I’ve been trying to stick with it.

Morning or Evening?

This is another one I’m passionate about – like tea, haha. Evening for sure! Both my husband and I are major evening people. Literally our normal bedtime is 4 to 5 am and we don’t wake up until 1 pm when he has to leave for work since he works 3 pm to 11 pm. Lately, he’s had to switch shifts so I’ve been sticking to our normal sleep schedule and when I go to bed at 5 am he’s been leaving for work and when I wake up at 1 pm, two hours later at 3 pm, he’s going to sleep. All that just to keep our normal evening time together at 11 pm.

We are definitely not morning people.

Mountains or Ocean?

This is a toughie and it really depends on if we’re talking which I would rather visit, which I would rather look at, or which I would rather write about, haha. I think I’d rather visit a mountain mostly because I don’t swim but being on a beach would be so pretty. I feel like being on a mountain I could really just gaze at God’s creation and be in wonder of it. I’d rather look at a mountain, but oceans are beautiful too. Although, if we’re talking which I’d rather write, definitely ocean. I love the idea of how mysterious the ocean is. Like, literally imagining that feeling of swimming and not knowing what’s beneath you. Anything could be down there. I love writing about large creatures, mermaids, sharks, dangerous creatures, anything like that. Underwater kingdoms and worlds is a topic I love to incorporate into my writing.

Cat or Dog?

I have both and I really don’t have a preference. I used to say I’m a cat person but sometimes my cat can be a little annoying, so it really depends. We have 3 dogs, 2 inside cats, a hamster, and 2 rabbits and we love all our animals. I love my dog, Bry, because he cuddles a lot more. My cat has a mind of her own, but cats are sometimes funnier. Well, sometimes.

Pen or Pencil?

Pen, for sure. I hate how pencil fades. I’ve lost so many old notes because the pencil faded and I couldn’t read it anymore, so ever since then, I switched to pen or computer and never looked back. I only use pencils for drawing maps to my fantasy worlds and only because I mess up so much I need an eraser. Drawing a rough sketch of a map in pen would be a total disaster for me!

When do your writing, and where?

Oh, every evening. I have kind of made a pact with myself that when I start a book, I try to write in it once every day and that works. Sometimes it’s between 7 pm and 11 pm when my husband gets home. If I’m busy, it’ll usually be after we eat our supper and do our own thing for a little while around 1 am. For the past few months, my writing time has always been around 1 am to 3 am – ish. I have a huge desk in my room but since I get the living room to myself, I have started this thing where I spread out on the kitchen table with my laptop and write there. It’s where I’m typing these answers right now, haha.

What inspired Hunter?

Goodness. Well, random fact, I wrote Hunter many years ago, so I don’t remember specifics anymore. This was way back in high school, so it’s been six years since I graduated and it might have been either my freshman or sophomore year. I wish I’d written it down, haha. I loved the idea of Mulan, I always have. The idea of having to disguise herself as a man to protect her family. At the time, I’d only been writing Christian dramas for fun, so I had no experience trying to write a war. Since Hunger Games was a huge deal at the time, I thought, what if it was adults and what if instead of an arena, they were arrested into a prison? So eventually, this shifted into the idea of a prison that was like the arena where they couldn’t escape with all kinds of dangerous geography features. So I had the idea – a girl disguises herself as a man to protect her family – and ends up inside this prison. I loved the idea that she was the only woman to do that, which helped me in terms of creating a strong female lead. Then, I needed more to the story and even though the dangerous geography features created plenty of survival scenarios, I needed more. That’s where the idea of the prisoners being chased by the prison’s specially enhanced assassins came in at. I wanted this to be part of a series,  but I didn’t know what the overall storyline was, let alone have any ideas for it. So in the end, I named it Hunter since it was about the Hunters being after the prisoners.

Is there any truth behind your fantasy?

Yes. At the time, I didn’t realize it until I’d written the end of the series, but every book in the Valiant Series paralleled with the Bible somehow, both in small and larger ways. Even Hunter. So I went back and added a bit more to flesh out the Christian theme, which is centered around being chosen and forgiven. A lot of the characters (to avoid spoilers here) make mistakes and those mistakes have costs. I didn’t want to have the costs go away because in real life, they don’t. We have to face consequences of our mistakes so I wanted my characters to have to face them too. But we can still be forgiven for them and that’s what God does for us through Jesus Christ.

What was the process for writing Hunter? Was it a flow from your pen or keypad or a by hook and crook to get it out?

I wish I could remember, but I really don’t. It took me a while and it was my first fantasy ever, so I’m sure I had some struggles. I do remember the first time my husband and I edited it though. That was a hook and crook and it was so difficult. There was so much to be fixed, since we had edited it years later and at the time I’d written it, I had been young and less experienced than I was when we got around to editing it. Man, it was brutal. And I actually didn’t want to be editing it at all but we had planned on self publishing at the time, so it needed to be done. Eventually, we got it done and eventually, the second book the series, Shifter, got accepted by my publisher, Ambassador International and then they accepted Hunter too. Their editor went through it three more times. Fortunately, this time, since it had been so many years since the last time I’d gone through it, it was much easier and even fun to revisit the past. Now, that past has become my present with it being published.

Can you share an excerpt or your favorite part?

Oh, goodness this is kind of tough. I have a lot of favorite parts and most of them include my favorite character.

Sorry, but I can’t give you much. There is one line that I love over everything else. The scene is when Radon, the Father’s Son, appears to one of the characters through white flames on a tree but the tree isn’t burning. This is the scene that parallels with the story of Moses. I love this scene for several reasons 1) It’s new. Most of the scenes in here I’ve read dozens upon dozens of times, so any of the newer stuff that I added in my first edit hasn’t been read as much. New content! 2) Because of that, when I added this scene, I knew the rest of the series and was able to add this to sort of tie it together with the others. Adding in Radon meant so much to me because he means so much to me as a character because of Who he represents. 3) It’s a powerful scene and it always fills me with lots of emotion. 4) This scene represents a major turning point for the character involved with it and it’s so much fun to read the character’s thoughts and feelings as they go through it. So here’s that favorite line I was telling you about (edited to avoid spoilers):

The face in the fire smiled. “If we look at who we used to be, and worry about what we will become, then we will miss who we are.”

I think looking back in the past is a problem I have, and I’m sure many others can agree. I also have a problem worrying about the future, so I didn’t realize how true this statement that Radon says could teach me a thing or two and not just the character he’s speaking to. That’s the thing I love about the Valiant Series is that each and every book took me on a journey and taught me so much about myself and about life. God used these books to influence my life and Hunter was just the beginning, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. Even though I wrote it years ago, I’m only just now learning to live out this line in my life and not miss who I am now.

Do you have a favorite character? Why?

Jared. I don’t really know why, but out of all the characters throughout the Valiant Series, he’s always stuck with me. It could have been because he’s my first in this series, but so was Averella. I love her, don’t get me wrong, but I just love Jared. I fell in love with the idea of a brutal killer and seeing his transformation, especially when you see him later on, is just amazing to experience. He’s the easiest character for me to write and his scenes always come so easily to me. Getting into the mind of a character that had no idea what the world was like outside of being a killer was fun and let’s face it, he’s technically one of the main antagonists in Hunter, so I think I loved him the most because he was one of those epic villains you want to see more of – like Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars.

Anything you want to let my readers know?

I hope that Hunter can be the start of an epic journey for you like it was for me. I hope that you learn so many things – forgiveness, letting go of the past, moving onto the future God has planned for you, never being afraid to lean on others for help and support, believing in yourself, not doubting who you are and what you can do. There’s so much woven in this story. I also hope it entertains you. That you read it, fall in love with each of the characters, and that the ending leaves you wanting more, so that you’ll continue reading the Valiant books and continue this epic journey with me.

The author

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Joanna White earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University. The Valiant series is her first published work, which first started off being updated on a website called Wattpad. She lives in the country of Missouri with her husband, where she continues to work on her other upcoming books. Writing has been a passion since she was ten, when she wrote her first book. Ever since then, writing has become her life outside of her family, God, and being a nerd.

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Big Discount on Books & Author Facebook Party

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Making a fence for a backdrop to the dance floor for my daughter’s wedding.

If I’ve seen MIA from social media lately, it’s because I have a daughter getting married on Wednesday. My days have been filled with wedding plans and sewing the flower girls’ dresses and helping to adjust my daughter’s dress. At the same time, I’m suppose to not forget the rest of my family and you, my readers. I’m not sure how well the last has gone. I’ve been able to keep up with family, but I feel as if I’ve neglected you. To make it up to you, I’m going to fill you in on some happenings this week.



Prime Day–July 11

Amazon is celebrating Prime day for those with Amazon Prime. I decided to celebrate by giving you all a deal on Dragon’s Heritage. The ebook is on sale for 99 cents until Friday. That will also help celebrate my daughter’s wedding since she was the inspiration for Duskya. This sale is only available on Amazon.

Dragon's Heritage Cover

Summer Shelf Stock-up Party

What better way to enjoy the summer, besides a wedding, than with a book? Maybe with multiple new to you clean books that are on sale! Yep, you heard me. Before I even knew my daughter was thinking about marrying her Army boyfriend, I joined a group of authors to celebrate Christian author books. They’ve planned a Facebook party to showcase books for you. Come meet ten other authors, win prizes and learn about their books that are on sale for 99 cents. I’ll be hosting the party from the get go–I’m hoping my mind will be clear since the party is the day after my daughter’s wedding.

The party is on Thursday, July 13 from noon-8 pm EST. Here’s the line up:
12-1pm Kandi J Wyatt
1-2pm Kate Willis
2-3pm Sharon D. Tweet
3-4pm Faith Blum & Amanda Tero
4-5pm Audrey Rich & Kellyn Roth
5-6pm EJ McCay
6-7pm Melanie Snitker
7-8pm Julie Spencer & Liwen Ho

Summer Shelf Stock-up Party photo

Have a wonderful week, and I look forward to seeing you at the Facebook party.

Book Lists

6 Awesome Reads for World Book Day

Books elicite joy and bring tears; they make you laugh and plunge you into new worlds. Since at least the third grade, I’ve had a love affair with books. I remember roaming second hand stores looking for specific covers and publishers for me and my mom. Since writing took presidence, my reading has faltered, but not as much as I had at first thought. This year alone, I’ve read thirteen books and listened to three and a half books on audio! I can’t believe I’ve done that in just four months!

Today is World Book Day. I decided to share some of those books I’ve read or listened to with you. I’m trying to keep these as all new to my blog, but a few of them may have been mentioned before. Without further ado, here are some awesome books for World Book Day.

1. Ascension by Morgen Rich and Brian Rathbone

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Click on the image to find the book.

Okay, I’ve mentioned Brian Rathbone and his Godsland series numerous times. He’s just such an awesome author and his books transport you in time and place. If you haven’t checked out his work or his Facebook feed, go do so.

Now that you have that taken care of, let me tell you about the prequel to the Godsland series. I haven’t finished reading it, but even as I went to look through my Kindle books to figure out which ones to share with you, I found myself drawn into the story and almost not able to put it down. (Happily for you, I hit close on the program and returned to this blog post.)

Ascension is a standalone that tells the story of Gwendolyn, the daughter of a butcher, who loves plants and herbs. Gwen is forced to choose between marriage or the monastery. Since she doesn’t love anyone in her little village, and her father won’t let her become the next hedge witch, she decides to go to a monastery. That decision sets her on a dangerous course. I was about a fourth of the way into the book, when I smiled and thought, “I know who this is!” My suspicion was proven correct when a character from Call of the Herald walked into the story.


2. Prince of Alasia by Annie Douglass Lima

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Click on cover to find the book on amazon.

Yes, you’ve heard of this author before as well. I don’t believe, though, that I’ve told you about the Prince of Alasia. This is a non-stop action book which teaches about forgiveness and understanding.

Prince Jaymin’s life is changed forever when his bodyguard and best friend Erik awakens him in the middle of the night and leads him out of the palace moments before a coup occurs. With his identity a danger to himself and anyone around him, Jaymin becomes a commoner and tries to decipher what happened that night.

I loved reading the book and will add the rest of the series to my to-be-read list.

3. Soul Survivor by Susan Faw

<img="award winning book">This author is new to me. She just recently received the Dante Rossetti for Best Young Adult Fiction of 2016 for Seer of Souls, the first book in this series! Besides that, she was the Grand Prize Winner. I’d say that was quite an achievement.

So, what’s all the fuss about? It’s a mythology story that starts out with a war between the gods. One wants to use the moon to channel energy, while another god wants to protect the humans who would end up in the middle of everything. Soul Survivor is the prequel to Seer of Souls. It’s skillfully written and has unique and interesting characters. It’s also available for a free download.




4. The Lost Heir by Allison Whitmore

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Click on photo to go to Amazon.

Being an author has some unique privileges. One of which is knowing other authors. Over the course of the last two years, I’ve met authors online, through my publisher, through Facebook groups, and on Twitter. I met Allison through a group online that enables writing sprints. We work together to encourage each other to get words on paper. So, when I opened up The Lost Heir I was surprised to see a name I recognized on the front.

The story is an engaging fantasy set in the real world in Los Angeles. However, there’s a whole nother realm underneath the city that Isabella Foxworthy discovers on the brink of her birthday. This whole other realm consists of unique beings and traps for the unwary.

5. Delivered by Angels by Emerald Barnes

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click on photo to find on Amazon.

This sequel to Entertaining Angels focuses on new characters with real issues. I almost couldn’t read the opening chapter due to the content of cutting and the suicidal thoughts of the main character, Lexi. I knew the book itself would end well, and that’s the only thing that kept me going. Suicide is such a raw spot with me since I’ve personally known two young people who took their own lives.

I love how the author shows us the unseen side to the battle of suicide. The angelic realm becomes real in this book as angels battle to keep humans alive and try to help humans realize there is One who does love them.

You can read an interview with Lexi on my blog.




6. Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones

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Click on photo to go to Amazon.

This fun story takes a cancer patient and places her as the heroine capable of saving a world. The tenacity of a cancer patient is needed to save Finian Johndra from the canker. If you loved The Neverending Story, you’ll love Leandra’s Enchanted Flute. I listened to this story. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the narrator, but as the tale progressed, the narrator became the perfect voice for the story. I was sad when the audio came to an end. This is the perfect story for any band member, people who love happy endings, and the fantasy lover in your home.

Here are a few of the books I’ve read this year. What are you reading? I’d love to hear.

Book Lists

Lovely Book Giveaways for Valentine’s Day

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day! What better gift than a book, and I’ve got just the help you need. Thanks to Fellowship of Fantasy authors, these books come with a clean for all ages guarantee.


I Love Dragons

Author Lea Doue, a Fellowship of Fantasy member, has put together a giveaway for the month of February. Whether fire-breathing or water-dwelling, winged or serpentine, dragons capture our imagination and take us to fantastic new worlds. Nineteen dragon writers have gathered together to offer a collection worth sinking your teeth into. We’ve got dragons of all sizes, from friendly to fierce and everything in between.

These books are all up for a giveaway along with a dragon journal. Among them are Dragon’s Heir, some wonderful stories from H. L. Burke, and Dragon Friend by Marc Secchia (often listed among the also-boughts for the Dragon Courage series). I’ve had Ben the Dragonborn on my To-be-read list for the last two years! It’s also one of the books in the giveaway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Fellowship of Fantasy’s Valentine’s Day Sale

FoF Valentine Sale-FacebookAs if a giveaway wasn’t enough, the Fellowship of Fantasy authors decided to get together and do a Valentine’s Day sale! Yep, you heard me right. From today through Valentine’s Day, you’ll find great flinch-free fantasy and speculative fiction either for 99 cents or for free.

99 cent books:

Rebirth—Frank B. Luke-Amazon

Seven Deadly Tales—Frank B. Luke-Amazon

The Hidden Level—AJ Bakke-Amazon (A fun story where kids get pulled into a gaming world. Book three of the series has a dragon.)

To Save Two Worlds—AJ Bakke-Amazon (If you love cats, you’ll love this one.)

The Regency Shifter Series—KM Carroll-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble

Academy of Secrets—Michael Carney-Author Website

Sunbolt—Intisar Khanani-AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo

Wyndano’s Cloak—A. R. Silverberry AmazonBarnes and Noble

The Stream—A. R. Silverberry –AmazonBarnes and Noble

Rainbird—Rabia Gale-AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo

Reality Break—Jennifer Kibble-Amazon

Battle for the Throne—EJ Willis-Amazon

Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas—H. L. Burke-Amazon (I loved the one Nyssa Glass I read. I have the rest of the series on my to-be-read list.)

The True Bride and the Shoemaker—L. Palmer-Author WebsiteAmazon

Cry of the Sea—D. G. Driver-Amazon

Foxtails—Erica Laurie-Amazon

Eun Na and the Phantom—Erica Laurie-Amazon

Free books:

The Buick Eight—Frank B. Luke-Amazon

Cora and the Nurse Dragon—H. L. Burke-Amazon (A delightful tale that starts out like a classic horse story and turns into a dragon tale.)

Lands of Ash—H. L. Burke-Amazon

Prince of Alasia—Annie Douglass Lima-Amazon (I need to get this one. I love Annie Douglass Lima’s other speculative fiction series.)

Awakening—Julie C. Gilbert-Amazon

Leandra’s Enchanted Flute—Katy Huth Jones-Amazon

Mercy’s Prince—Katy Huth Jones-Amazon

Woe for a Faerie—B. Brumley-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble

Chasing Lady Midnight—C. L. Ragsdale-Amazon

Jin In Time Part One —Karin De Havin-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble

Nyssa Glass and the Caper Crisis—H. L. Burke-Amazon

Also be sure to check out the Fellowship of Fantasy Perma-Free Titles: an ever growing library of free to download fantasy titles! These titles are always free to download.

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Charming Academy tells Prince Charming’s story, while Forge takes the reader on an anime style romp through Japan as the hero fights a creature that shouldn’t exist.

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Now that you have a ton of ideas, which book are you getting for your Valentine? Which for your kid? And which for you? I think I’ll pick up Prince Charming and several more. I have a feeling my list will be bigger than my pocket book.

Book Lists

Outstanding Books for the Booklover on Your Christmas List

For the last three weeks I’ve fought a sinus infection. Yep, even through Thanksgiving I was sick. However, on Thursday, things got worse and I spent the day in bed and the rest of the weekend in my recliner slowly trying to coax my tummy to eat. Once my brain came back to life on Friday, that left a ton of hours free for reading. So, I thought I’d share with you some of the great books I’ve read recently. It may give you some great Christmas gift ideas for that booklover on your shopping list.

Dragon Airways by Brian Rathbone:

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Click on photo to find book on amazon

I first heard about Dragon Airways from Brian Rathbone’s Facebook page and immediately thought it was an addition to the Godsland series. Although, I was excited for it, I knew I had to finish the series before I could enjoy the book. However, when Dragon Airways went on sale a while back, Brian replied to one of my comments letting me know it is a stand alone. I eagerly picked it up.

From the first page, it held my attention. Emmet and Riette pulled at my heartstrings. The brother and sister care deeply for each other and are thrust into the middle of a Zjhon war. Their options of escape soon are narrowed down to a decrepit dragon and her groom and rider. Soon the reader is pulled into the intrigue of who is really the bad guy and how will Emmet and Riette stay ahead of the Zjhon. With fast-paced action, and wonderful character development, Dragon Airways is the perfect coming of age story for anyone ages twelve and up, or to be read outloud to any age. It will bring tears to the tender-hearted.



Keeper by S Smith:

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Click on the image to go to Keeper on amazon.

Keeper is book 4 of the Seed Saver series that I have discussed before. The story picks up with Lily and Arturo as they’ve found refuge in the rural, Carolina mountains. When the authorities discover the bike they used to arrive at the village, it puts a kink in their plans for leaving. Meanwhile, Clare and Dante are finishing their courses of the Garden Guardians in Canada. Upon graduation their host parents tell them they won’t return to their own home. Rose is sent to a foster home where Trinia has her eye on the girl. FRND classes takes up Rose’s time and fill her mind with propaganda from GRIM. When they all meet again, the survival of the Seed Savers is put in jeopardy.

This is a great read for anyone who loves the series, loves gardening and real food, and loves adventure. The fast-paced book is appropriate for ages twelve and older.




The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline by Tabitha Caplinger

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Click on the image to go to TCO3: Bloodline on amazon.

I had to look through my book list and my blog posts to see which books I had read and hadn’t already shared with you. To my surprise I discovered I haven’t mentioned this book, at least not in my blog.

About four years ago, my now nineteen-year-old son and I traveled 50 minutes one way to school every day. We listened to a ton of books. One of those was The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I enjoyed the idea of the plot line but several times we fast-forwarded love scenes. It opened up discussions between us on ethics and purity, but at the same time, I wondered what it would be like if there was a book with similar plot that would have been clean.

In the last several months, I discovered there is such a book. The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline has all the intrigue, action, dueling, and romance that The Mortal Instruments had minus the swearing and sex! I was so excited that I read through the book and eagerly looked forward to book two. This week the advanced reader copy of book two, The Chronicle of the Three: Armor Bearer arrived in my inbox. If I had one more day of being sick and in bed, this would have come out. As it is, I’ll pull it out at lunch tomorrow.


Fellowship of Fantasy Perma-Free Titles:

One last collection for your gift-giving selection are a list of perma-free, clean fantasy books. Fellowship of Fantasy hosted a Facebook party this weekend highlighting books that will cost you nothing! That’s right. These are the best kind for your budget. They are all flinch-free fantasy. Check out the link to see the list.

Do you have favorite books for gift-giving? If so, please let me know.

Book Lists, Uncategorized

5 Great Reads for Fall

It’s been awhile since I did a book list. I’ve not done a ton of reading lately, but I thought with fall approaching and kids in school, maybe we needed some ideas of books to read. Some of these will be old favorites, others will be new, and one will not be released until Oct 10th.

Old Favorites

The Godsland series by Brian Rathbone

godslandwebheaderI’ve featured this series before. It’s well worth the read. A clean, epic fantasy which often is hard to find. The story of Catlin is just a normal farm girl who must go to school in town and endure the bullies; that is until the bullies decide to pick on her friend. When she wakes up, she finds she’s won the fight and majorly wounded the bully. This catalyst sets her and her friends on a journey to save their homeland from an even bigger threat. You can get the first book free on Brian Rathbone’s website. The series is good for everyone from 8 to 108. You may have to read it to an eight-year-old, though.

Saga of Recluce series by L. E. Modesitt, Jr


With fall coming, I’m often drawn to Recluce where white or chaos and black or order magicians clash and where food is abundant and mouthwatering. The world of Recluce sends out potential mages who can’t abide by the rulers into Gandar to find their way. Each story builds the world history. Each character is unforgettable and multifacetted. And did I say food? Yes, the descriptions of burhka a spicy meat dish served with piping hot bread or the cheese, wine, sausage, and bread platters make me want to bake bread and sit beside a fire and enjoy it. The series is for older readers teenage and above.



New Books

The Beat on Ruby’s Street by Jenna Zark

<img="The Beat on Ruby's Street">I may have mentioned this book before, but it’s still fairly new. It has been republished since June. I’m currently reading it to my 6th and 7th grade English Language Arts class. The kids are loving it, even though we only get a page or two a day.

Ruby’s an outgoing, young teen that just wants to go meet the famous poet who’ll perform at The Scene. However, Tatoo Tina messes up those plans when she accusses Ruby of stealing some fruit from the cart outside the store. When children’s services step into the scene, Ruby’s life is turned upside down. Her courage and ingenuity earn her friends and give young readers someone to look up to. Adults will enjoy learning about or reliving the Beat Generation all in a fun story with depth that will stir the heart to tears. You can learn more about it on Jenna Zark’s website.


Dragon’s Cure by Kandi J Wyatt


I usually don’t add my own books to these lists, but if this is a list of books I’m reading or have read, then Dragon’s Cure needs to be on it. I read Dragon’s Cure repeatedly this summer as it went through editing and then proofreading. Yes, it’s book 4 of the series, but my proofreader was introduced to the series via this book and had no problem reading it without having read the others.

This is a book that is a little darker and tells a story of the emotional struggle to survive abuse. Serena’s decisions in trying to stay in control lead her from bad to safe to okay to worse than bad. It’s a cautionary tale for ages twelve and up.


New on October 10

Tyrants and Traitors by Joshua McHenry Miller

<img="Tyrants and Traitors">This book is a great read. It won’t be completely available until October 10, but that’s less than a month away. In the meantime, you can read the first chapter on the author’s website.

If you’re looking for the traditional Sunday School story of David the shepherd boy, this book isn’t for you. But, if you want a very believable spiritual struggle of a young teen thrust into a role he didn’t ask for, then go grab Tyrants and Traitors. To add to the mix, you’ll have laughs and a delightful story of shinanegans and tight spots. This is a read for the whole family.




What if it was illegal to plant seeds?

In January, I had the privilege of receiving a book as a gift. Being an author, I understood the value of that autographed paperback. So, with loving care, I picked it up and began reading. I instantly was transported to a new world–well kind of. It actually was a very probably future America where gardening and saving seeds was outlawed, where food comes in boxes and squares all ready processed called Vitees, Protein, Juices, Carbos, and Sweeties. It was an extreme example of what could happen if the GMOs gained political momentum and took over.

The characters are twelve-year-old Clare, her nine-year-old brother Dante, and her twelve-year-old friend, Lily. Today, I have the honor of introducing you to Clare. I was able to do an interview with her!

<img="Keeper book 4 of Seed Savers series">Me: Clare, I heard you started this whole Seed Savers adventure. Tell me a little about that.

Clare: Sure. When I was twelve I first heard the word “seed” at church, and–

Me:  Wait–you hadn’t heard the word “seed” before?

Clare: That’s right. I’m from a future where kids don’t know what seeds are. It’s forgotten about, like the words “television set.” So I asked an older woman about seeds and she started teaching me.

Me: That would be Ana?

Clare: Yes. Ana became my teacher. And then, of course, I brought my friend Lily in on it, and Dante, my brother.

Me: So now that you know about seeds and real food, do you think you can go back to the Vitees and Carbos and that kind of food?

Clare: Definitely not!

Me: How’s that going to work out?

Clare: I’m not sure. Right now it’s frustrating because I’m in hiding and so we can’t garden. If I were out, and nobody else’s safety depended on it, I would try to grow a garden anyway. I mean, Gruff had a garden on his balcony in New Jersey and he got away with it.

Me: This is true.

Clare: I might even go back to Canada. But I really want to be part of the change. I want everyone to have freedom of choice about their food.

Me: Seems reasonable. Some people are wondering if you and Lily are growing apart…

Clare: I wouldn’t worry about it.

Me: What about Jason? Is this a romance?

Clare: (rolls eyes) Does everything always have to be a romance? Can’t  a girl and a guy ever just be friends? I thought you said this interview was about Seed Savers?

Me: I’m sorry. I think readers just naturally gravitate towards that. Okay, let’s wrap it up on a final note about Seed Savers. Do you think your Movement is going to have a victory any time soon?

Clare: (smiles) Of course. With young people in the Movement, how could we be anything but victorious?

So, if you now are intrigued, go check out S. Smith and her books, Seed Savers. They’re a great read for kids and kids in adult bodies.


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Book Lists

6 Great Reads for Spring Break

This Friday starts Spring Break for my kids and for me! I can’t wait. I get to go on a writer’s retreat and then the next weekend we’re going to see Lorena McKennet in concert! In between these two events I have four days to relax. I may grab another book, I may just write. I don’t know. But if you’re wondering what to do for Spring Break and need a book to read, here’s some ideas.

Blast of the Dragon’s Fury

Bk-5-FB-Coverphoto-Tour-BanL. R. W. Lee wrote the Andy Smithson series. Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is the first of the series. She’s created a very intriguing story of a young boy who enters a new world through a trunk. This world is plagued by a curse that the king believes Andy can fix! Andy finds friends and goes on a quest to help lift the curse. Lee has created a wonderful world full of interesting characters, intriguing ideas, and subtle plot twists. The story is good for ten-year-olds on up. It would also make a good read aloud to a younger child.

Between Heartbeats

Between HeartbeatsBetween Heartbeats is a young adult story of exploration and mystery. Diana is a senior in high school when her mom drops a bombshell on her on her seventeenth birthday. Finding out that who she thought was her dad isn’t, causes Diana turmoil and winds her into the middle of a mystery. As Diana tries to find the truth about her birth father, she uncovers a tangle of events that happened seventeen years ago. Donelle Knudsen has created an intriguing story of love of all kinds, from Diana and her boyfriend, to Diana and her parents. She looks at various issues in an objective way with a mother’s heart. I would encourage teens on up to read Between Heartbeats.

The Seed Savers series

Seed-Savers-Book-Series-Treasure-Lily-Heirloom-S-Smith-medYes, I all ready gave this series a high five in my post for February reads, but since then, I’ve read book three. I can’t wait to read books four and five. S. Smith has create a very realistic look at a future America where GMOs have taken control in the government, and it’s illegal to own seeds or to garden. In book 1, Treasure, we were introduced to Claire, Dante, and Lily. The three kids learn about gardening from an elderly lady from Claire’s church. When the government raids Claire and Dante’s house and imprisons their mom, they take off on a journey to find freedom. In book 2, Lily, Lily has been left in the city. She meets new friends, Rose and Arturo and learns about her family history. She’s rather surprised by what she finds. In book 3, Heirloom, Lily takes off in search of her father. Her departure is more thought through than Claire and Dante’s. She heads south on a hazardous journey meeting new people in the seed saver organization. Heirloom shows some young love budding and slowly introduces some of the history of how seeds became illegal. The story is written in such away that the reader is led on the journey with the characters. I love how S. Smith has created a believable future world and how the children interact with their world.

The Field

The FieldI first heard about The Field this past fall. Lydia Thomas, the author, was a guest author on the Facebook party for the release of The One Who Sees Me. I was intrigued with the idea of her book: Three girls who disobey the king’s edict and go into the field. Growing up, I remember reading simplified versions of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The Field followed the same allegorical style. I finally was able to read it recently. In my family, we have a comparison on fantasy. We say that J. R. R. Tolkien was a genius with fantasy by being detailed and complex; whereas C. S. Lewis was a genius with fantasy by simplicity. After reading The Field, I would use the same comparison. John Bunyan was the detailed and complex allegorist, but Lydia Thomas is the simple allegorist. Both are geniuses in their writing styles and story lines. I love how the plot unfolded among the three women; even though it mainly focused on two–Deliah and Lily. Lydia portrays the true struggles that believers face in everyday life, from the struggle to listen to the deceiver to self-worth issues. Unfortunately, this book is no longer in circulation.

If this list isn’t enough to keep you full of books over Spring Break you can check out my list for February Reads. Let me know what you’re reading.

Book Lists, Mom Life

4 Secrets for Awesome Read Alouds from a Mom

Growing up, my mom read to my brother, sister and me all the time. I don’t remember many times when I was wee little, but her example later in life as she read to her daycare children, stuck. My fifth grade year, Mom would clean up supper dishes and then we’d sit down in the living room and she’d read to us Angel Unaware by Dale Evans Rogers. The memory is with me to this day of the feeling of contentment and peace sitting and listening to Mom’s voice. I’ve continued the tradition by reading after dinner with my family.

Choose a Book with Appeal

When choosing a book, consider the age of the child and the attention span. I’ve read to two-year-olds. However, I chose a book that had lots of pictures and things the child could look at. When reading to my own kids, I picked out books they either recommended to me or gave them an option of several interesting ones and then let them decide.

What will appeal? Good question. For younger children, I’d suggest picture books with vibrant colors. For very young ones, the Dr. Seuss books are great for that. Another good author is Jan Brett. Her books combine great story-lines with amazing drawings. Unique books also are good. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is one such book. It has cut outs to create the drawings. For older kids, you’ll want good stories. Think of the ones that you enjoyed growing up. Blend some of the classics with some modern day stories. A good resource for a list of books to read at different ages is Honey for a Child’s Soul.

Stretch Your Child

A pet peeve of mine is when people talk down to kids. When they do this, it’s as if they’re saying the child is not of importance. I say, believe in your child. Stretch your child’s imagination, vocabulary, and attention span. Test different styles of books to read to your child. Just because it’s not in his or her age range, may not mean it isn’t perfect for the two of you to sit down and read. Often people think that children can’t understand large vocabulary. I disagree. Lemony Snicket used big words in his A Series of Unfortunate Events. Each book centered around one word that sometimes I didn’t even know what it meant. He would explain it at the beginning and then move on and continue to use it throughout the book. When I wrote the Dragon Courage series, I read it to my children who were eight, eleven and twelve at the time. The nine-year-old sat through all of them eating them up and asking for more. The other two came and went, but still have favorite characters from the stories. The series is rated at middle grade, but I didn’t talk down to them. Even when my editor pointed out words, I thought through them and often decided to keep them and let kids look them up or ask an adult what it means.

Be Active

One of my now twenty-two=year-old’s favorite bed-time stories when he was about two was the Berenstein Bears In the Dark. It wasn’t because of the story itself but because how we read it to him. We moved him around with the bears, and at the end when sister bear bends over the edge of the bunk bed and yells “boo” to brother bear, we’d reenact it every time.

With little ones, I’ve watched my mom point out the items in the pictures. She’ll ask, “Where’s the bird? Do you see the bird?” then wait until the child points with her. I’ve also used my finger to point to the words. Soon, the little ones are using their finger to follow along as well. This is not only keeping them involved, but it helps them with reading readiness which their kindergarten teacher will thank you for.

Be Creative

Change your voice around as you read. Be the different characters. Have fun with it. Kids love it when you have fun with them.

Audio books can be great at this. If you sit down and listen to an audio book with your child, you can have memories of a book read aloud that you both experienced together as hearers. From 2012-14, I had a fifty minute commute to work. I took my middle son along as he attended school where I taught. We’d use that fifty minutes one way to listen to audio books. We traveled through the worlds of Peter Pan and the Starcatchers, The Beyonders, and many more. We participated together in the unwinding of the plot and character development. We’d discuss what we thought would happen, how we’d have written it if we were the authors, and sometimes even real life values based on what we were hearing.

An alternative to a professional audio book is a self-made one. When my family moved to Ecuador for eleven months, we took the three-month-old granddaughter, and two-and-a-half-year-old grandson from my parents. They made the best of it by recording tapes of grandma reading to the grandkids. Later, when we returned, a friend we met in Ecuador sent a tape to our son of her reading his favorite books. She added a fun twist. She got books she knew he had and could follow along with. So, as she read and would get to the bottom of the page, she’d say “ding, ding, turn the page”. After that, no matter who read to him, we had to use, “ding, ding, turn the page”.  In today’s technology of recorders, it would be even easier to do this.

This all sounds nice and easy. It is. The hardest part is getting up and going to your local library and picking out a book. You can do it. Maybe try one of these already mentioned, or pick up one of your favorites from growing up. Here’s a list of my favorite books you can choose from. So, go out there and start reading to your child.


A Healer uses Tea

As winter ran its course, I found myself moving to drinking coffee and tea more often. One tea worked its way into my cupboard and hence into my mug. Celestial Seasonings’ Tension Tamer became a regular. I have loved this tea since I was a young mom. The aroma itself just relaxes me. As I drank it this winter though, I read through Dragon’s Revenge, book three of the Dragon Courage series. The main character in this book is Kyn, the youngling and healer from book one. Forty-one times tea comes up in the manuscript! As I read it and drank Tension Tamer, I realized that Meredyth’s tea was Tension Tamer.

As the three men left the inn, they were stopped by the mistress. “Kind sir, I want to thank you for the tea last night. Where did you come by such delicious leaves?”

Kyn bowed to her. “You are most welcome, honored lady. The leaves are handpicked by a woman who is like a mother to me. She has yet to share the origin of her blend. I have tried different blends of my own, but there is none quite like hers.”    


In search of his place in the world, Kyn visits his new friend, Ben’hyamene. Together, they meet an ailing dragon rider from the marshes of a land called the Carr. The rider recounts a people beset by anger, depression, and despair. After befriending and healing the rider, the group travels to the rider’s home. There they discover a breed of wild dragons, called drakes, which have been at war with humans for four hundred years.

One sleepless night, Ben’hyamene uses his new abilities to communicate with the lead drake. This sets Kyn and Ben’hyamene on a path that could bring peace to a conflict that’s nearly destroyed a whole people. Can revenge be set aside and enemies be called friends?

Find out in the exciting third book of the Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Revenge by Kandi J Wyatt.

It was at the moment when he couldn’t force himself to continue that he smelled Meredyth’s tea. The smell took him away from the little log cabin and placed him into a familiar abode in Three Spans Canyon. Ruskya, Carryl, Meredyth, and Ruskya’s great-uncle Glendyn all sat around Glendyn’s stove. Kyn could see them clearly. They had sat that way many times, the five of them talking over a mug of Meredyth’s tea. The emotional drain lifted, and Kyn could think clearly. He was brought back to the little log cabin by Ben’hyamene’s voice.


Available Tuesday, April 5, 2016.


Dragon's Revenge Cover