Music spotlight: Andromeda Coast

Like most members of the human race, music is a large part of my life. I use it to unwind, for inspiration, for entertainment, and for worship. So I thought a great way to kick off the new year would be to introduce a new feature. Music spotlights where I share some of my favorites and why I like them.

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First up is Andromeda Coast. This is a synth pop, husband and wife duo. They just released their second album last year called Dream Architect.

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I love the dreamy melodies created by the electronic tones. Their imaginative and sometimes abstract lyrics are fun to listen to and can spark the creative flow as your brain tries to create a story out of them.

I even wrote a story based on an Andromeda Coast song. I may have asked you to guess, about that in an earlier blog post.

Andromeda Coast can be streamed on Spotify and you really should check out their  YouTube channel.

You can also find them on SoundCloud which in addition to Spotify is one of my go to places for music.

In addition to Dream Architect there is an older album called Aphelion that you can find on Spotify and is available in most digital music stores.

This album is just as good as Dream Architect and is well worth the listen.

Check out their official website here

You can read more about them and even purchase music and space themed merch in their shop.

If you sign up for their email newsletter they will send you free music. Dive Bomber is an earworm and you must get it stuck in your head.

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End of year wrap up

I hope that you (yes you reading this right now,) had a merry Christmas and I also send my best wishes for the new year. Don’t have a specific book to feature today so I thought I would just go over some of the highlights from my year.

The first highlight is a book that I featured twice on the blog, once as a cover reveal and once as a guest post. But it also has an Easter egg inside that makes it very close to my heart.

HoC CoverIt’s Heart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke. Every story has those minor characters that might only be mentioned once, these characters still need names. Towards the beginning of chapter thirteen, on page 127 of the print version is a character who is named but never shown. Cathrinia is a ballerina who is seriously hurt in an accident. Do you notice the lack of an e between the h and the r? That’s because she’s named after me. Cathrine, without the e in the middle. I was so excited and to see that, because H.L. didn’t give me a heads up.

The second highlight is a book that I beta read. This means reading the book before it is ready to publish to let the author know about any plot holes or continuity errors. I also featured this book twice as a cover reveal and as a review.

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It’s Wish you Weren’t Here by Janeen Ippolito. The great thing about this book was the author thanking me by name in her acknowledgements, and she used a suggestion I made for expanding a character’s role.

The next highlight is an event. The annual Realm Makers conference was amazing this year. You can read about my experience here.

In personal publications. I was published on the daily fiction blog Havok not once but twice.

Havok Badge

First time was on May, 6th 2019. It was a Mystery Monday story titled “The Cover Was Blue.”

The second was recently on December, 16th 2019. It was also a mystery Monday story, titled “Snow Blind.”

And of course I can’t forget my two anthologies that I was accepted into.

The 2019 Halloween short story challenge, 72389416_2492090504211068_1742301497061801984_oincludes my story, “Seeing Double.” A story about what happened when too many wore the same costume.

Christmas Spirit coverThe 2019 Christmas Spirit challengeincluded my first ever Christmas story, a rhyming experiment titled, “Holiday Cheer.” It features a trigger warning because it involves a suicide attempt.

There were other highlights too, like all the great books I read and featured here on the blog so feel free to click around in the archives and find something to read.

What are my goals for next year? Reading more books and hopefully writing one of my own.

FANtastic Interview about a Diverse Universe

I hope you are ready for the annual, “Hey it’s winter, have every holiday smashed together,” week. I am just ready for it to be over. Honestly I look forward to having my hours slashed. I need more time to read. So that I can keep up my weekly goal of bringing you more awesome things to read.

speaking of awesome things to read: I really recommend the Diverse series. It’s great for fans of Star Trek. The second book releases the 26th of December. Just in time to use your amazon gift cards. In honor of this release I’m interviewing Sharon Rose about a special twist that makes her series really stand out in the science fiction world.

But first a little about the book.

DiverseDemands coverDiverse Demands 

 by Sharon Rose

 She could use forbidden telepathy to prevent an alien war. But will her own people call her a hero or a criminal?

Kena, a lone human among aliens, forged a truce with her enemies by promising a controversial telepathic link with their future leader. They claim this is the foundation of lasting peace. But what are these obscure problems they now hide? Why is TarKeen, her strongest supporter, suddenly missing? Will their future leader be executed before Kena can reach her?

When another human joins Kena’s crew, he creates as many problems for her as he solves. Dissension sparks among her allies. Despite his interference, Antony does have a form of wisdom—unwelcome, though it is. Now, her decision is that much harder.

If Kena succeeds in fulfilling her risky promise, will anything be left of her career? And what about her and Antony?

Diverse Demands, the sequel to Diverse Similarity, is packed with adventure, intrigue, and rich alien cultures. The story explores just how far a person will go to solve the unsolvable. If you like classic science fiction merged with a Christian worldview, this book is for you.

Diverse Demands – book two will release Dec 26, 2019.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082BJQN93

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B082BJQN93

Previous book:

Diverse Similarity cover

 

Diverse Similarity – book one:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BC5ZX35

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BC5ZX35/

 

Both books are also available in Kindle Unlimited.

 

 

Did that description sound like your standard sci-fi plot? So what is this twist that set’s this book apart? Well it’s no secret that I feature a lot of novels by Christian authors on my blog. Well Sharon has done something astounding with this book she doesn’t just have Christian characters. She set her novels after the return of Christ! And she did it so subtly that I read the first book and had no idea.

(For those who need context: The Christian Bible ends with the book of Revelations that foretells a time of trials and hardship. It ends with Jesus Christ returning to Earth to rule for a millennium. This series takes place during that time span.)

To me the idea of having space travel and first contact after what we would think of as the end of human history is so mind blowing. Because it isn’t really an end. It’s the true beginning. As you can imagine I just had to ask the author about it.

FANtastic Interview with Sharon Rose:

CO: Why set a sci-fi novel after the return of Christ?

SR: Two entwined reasons:

If God created other races, then it follows that we would eventually meet them. I doubt that God would allow that contact while humankind is still in deception and turmoil. But after Christ returns and Satan can no longer deceive, the field changes dramatically.  Plenty of room for “What if…?”

I’ve always wondered about those who survive the trauma of the 7-year tribulation. Like us, they will have a lifetime of choices. Will they all agree? Humans? Not! I think life will be much better than today, but not without challenge.  And that drives a story.

CO: Was this twist part of the series from the beginning or did you decide one day to add it? 

SR: Always intended. I once experimented with removing this aspect. It didn’t jive with Kena’s character. She is who she is because she has always known her God’s deep love for her.  (By the way, that same knowledge is possible for all of us, right now.)

CO: Can you tell me what hints there are in the first book to this post-Revelation future?

SR: In chapter 18, one of the Grfdn skews Human history to insult Kena, and she sets him straight. Kena is relating  historic events to a non-human, so she doesn’t use our prophetic terminology.

CO: Why don’t your aliens know about God or worship a creator?

SR: A creator is mentioned in book one, and Kena wonders about their apparent lack of interest. She actually has limited knowledge of what they believe. I speculate that every alien race is different. What they know or care about could vary. Timing, need, willingness, purpose…many issues could play into this. Kena didn’t find an answer in book one. Book two… I’ll just say that desperation and purpose crop up.

CO: Were there any resources that were especially helpful in writing about the end times and the millennial kingdom?

SR: I have found very little about survivors of the tribulation or their descendants. From the Bible, I know they exist, they still have choices to make, and not all choose well. That gives me plenty of room for fictional descendants, such as Kena and Antony.

CO: Why does human telepathy in this series, differ from other representations in sci-fi, including your own Agents of Rivelt novel?

SR: I can’t help but chuckle over this. Ever since I saw Spock do a mind meld, I have been fascinated with telepathy. I’ve imagined it dozens of ways and considered all sorts of ramifications. For me, the story’s purpose drives the flavor of telepathy. Alas, Kena and Tracy (of Rivelt) can never meet.

Telepathy’s purpose in the Diverse series is to show the intrinsic differences between the alien races. Those differences create tremendous potential, but also challenges. I tucked an allegory into this, which refers to the uniqueness of every person. If only we could see past our surface variations, and recognize the amazing potential within each individual.

I want to thank Sharon so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I highly recommend her books. Great for fans of Star Trek, a clean alternative to the Orville, readers of Left Behind will be thrilled, and anyone who says that Revelation means there will never be deep space travel, need this book.

Author bio:

Sharon Rose photo I started writing when I was seven years old. Okay, My Life as a Flying Squirrel may have had a couple spelling errors, but my classmates loved it.

 Plenty of life has happened since that first story, and I’ve come to realize the things that fascinate me. People. Communication. Culture. Personality. Viewpoints. Beliefs. Anything that makes each of us beautifully unique. Small wonder that my art spills out in story form.

 It was only a matter of time before I just had to share my stories. I’ve published science fiction and have some fantasy novels coming in the future.

 When I’m not writing or reading, I may be traveling, enjoying gardens, or searching for unique coffee shops with my husband. We live in Minnesota, USA, famed for its mosquitoes—uh, I mean 10,000 lakes and vibrant seasons.

 

Christmas Spirit and Havok

You know I spend so much time using this blog to spotlight other writers and their books that I almost forget to tell everyone when I publish something.

I wrote a Christmas story and it got accepted into an anthology. That anthology is out now, has been for a while now. Hmm, sorry about that. Introducing:

2019 Christmas Spirit Short Story Anthology

These are not your mother’s holiday stories! The authors of the 2019 Christmas Spirit Short Story Challenge, hosted by Michelle Francik, were tasked with writing short stories the evoked the “Christmas Spirit.” That could mean tidings and joy or it could mean the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future! This anthology covers the whole spectrum-from love, joy, and anticipation to depression, revenge and redemption. Whether you’re a scrooge or a holiday lover, you’ll find something to make you laugh, think, and hope.

 

Inside this festive collection you can find my story “Holiday Cheer.” The title is ironic in that the main character has no cheer in his heart.

 It’s also a serious story with themes that I don’t recommend for children. The editor of the anthology even put a trigger warning before it. 

Here’s the first few lines:

***************

T’was the day before Christmas and one man had a plan.

He would ruin the holiday for everyone in the land.

He never liked Christmas. The absolute worst time of the year.

What right had people to be happy when he felt no cheer.

 Hypocrites. Stupid. How he hated them all.

He hated the people who passed him, leaving the Mall.

Their arms full of bags and laughing on phones.

He hated the bell ringer and his partner on trombone.

Staring guilt into each person who passed the red kettle,

Dues to peace and good-will they must settle.

*****************

Yes it’s a rhyming story and I have no regrets. Are you interested in reading the rest?

Buy it below:

Christmas Spirit cover

Paperback link: https://amzn.to/34Em89n Selling for the low price of: $8.99

Kindle link: https://amzn.to/2DyjZA6 Available for the even lower price of: $2.99

And HAVOK free story:

Also today only (December 16th, 2019) I have a flash story published on http://gohavok.com.

The title is Snow Blind. And every story published this month is based on a song.

Which song is mine based on? You’ll have to guess.

I’d love it if you’d pop over and give it a read.

Havok Badge

Read for free today or join the havok hoard and get unlimited access to all of their stories.

 

 

A Storm Grows: Poem Feature

Today on the blog I have a special feature. Author Janeen Ippolito writes exciting fantasy novels, but today I’m talking about her newest poetry anthology. She is letting me share one of her poems with you, I’ll tell you how it makes me feel and then Janeen will share background about it in her own words.

Once upon a time

the great clock

broke

and there was no one

to fix it

(so the stories were ever

untold)

What I get out of this poem:

I love this poem for the imagery that it invokes.  I really relate to the concept of feeling broken and not having the energy for writing or anything really. Yes many stories have gone untold.

The not having anyone to fix it, is what I feel like when people tell me to push through or suck it up. It’s not that easy.

clock poem

Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

From the author:

For me, the inspiration for that poem came from trying to deal with emotions. Sometimes when I’m dealing with emotions that are difficult to place, it feels like I’m a broken machine, trying to examine my own innards while being unable to repair them—or voice them. I’m intellectually aware that something isn’t right, but it doesn’t feel like me. It’s frustrating because I’m often attuned to emotions around me, which tend to shove aside my own feelings. I’m still working through acknowledging and figuring out my feelings (therapy is helping).

Janeen-016Janeen Ippolitos beleives you should own your unique words! She writes steampunk fantasy, urban fantasy, and poetry, plus she creates writing resources, including the World Building Made Easy series. She’s an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, marketer, and is the leader of Uncommon Universes Press, a small traditional science fiction and fantasy publishing house. She’s also the cohost of the podcast Indie Book Magic. In her spare time, Janeen enjoys sword-fighting, reading, pyrography, and eating brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica.
Social media links:

Website: https://janeenippolito.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitounique/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaneenIppolito 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janeen_ippolito/  

Email Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/facebookpagesignup

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From the back cover:

it is not
an evil
to thunder
shriek
scream lightning
across the sky

A poetry anthology of those who have remained unspoken for too long.

Who have silenced their hearts and souls.
Who want to break free and be heard.

There is healing in the storm and growth in rain-tears.
And always, always a way forward.

No matter what.

Inspiration from Janeen Ippolito’s stories, life experiences, and artistic intake (books/movies/music/art). Includes a link at the end to exclusive, behind-the-scenes inspiration and commentary on various poems.

 

Available on Amazon

Add it on Goodreads

Dear Author: a review

Do you remember this cute little book that I cover revealed a few weeks ago? Well the release date is tomorrow! I’m so happy for Laura and all of the book the love that she is sharing with her release.

About the Book

Think your words might not matter? Think again.

Words have the power to change lives, especially when they are used to create meaningful stories. In this collection of letters, bookish fangirl Laura A. Grace addresses topics related to every writer’s journey. From “character conversations,” to embracing one’s unique writing style, to celebrating a release day—there is a letter for every author no matter where they may be in sharing their story with others.

“Dear Author” includes six illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams.

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My Review:

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl, comes exactly as advertised. This short book lets you into the mind of a book loving fangirl as she seeks to encourage her favorite author to not give up. The author is never named allowing any writer to pick this book up and imagine that it was written to them by their very own fangirl.

As a bookish fangirl myself I have to say that this short little book hit home for me. It perfectly captured the feeling of falling so completely in love with a story. Reading this is also a great reminder that there is real human being on the other end of our favorite books. They are not machines churning out plots for our entertainment. Each book is crafted with love and long hours spent, not watching Netflix. These authors deserve our respect, our love, and our encouragement.

So yes even if you aren’t an author, I encourage you to read Dear Author: letters from a Bookish fangirl. Then maybe write a letter of your own, to an author you love.

And the illustrations included are super cute.

*I was given an electronic ARC of this title. My review is given freely and includes my honest opinion.* 

About the Author

Laura A. Grace had a lifelong dream of getting to know authors behind the covers of her favorite reads. Little did she know that one day she would become an author too! Now an avid book blogger at Unicorn Quester and writer of clean, Christian manga, Laura creatively balances her passions of supporting indie authors and feeding her readers new stories. In between, she wields plastic lightsabers with her children and binge-watches anime with her husband. Join her quest to find wandering unicorns for your favorite authors at unicornquester.com!

WebsiteNewsletterFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube

 

 

Party Time!

Join in the celebration of Laura A. Grace’s debut motivational, Dear Author: Letters form a Bookish Fangirl, on December 5th from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM EST (5:30 PM PST and 6:30 PM MDT)!

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of encouragement, games, and giveaways. (Possibly an exclusive sneak peek to upcoming projects!)

Special guests Janeen Ippolito and Katie Phillips will also be joining in the fun!

RSVP HERE

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 2nd

Tuesday, December 3rd

Wednesday, December 4th

Thursday, December 5th

Friday, December 6th

Saturday, December 7th

Monday, December 9th

Tuesday, December 10th

Wednesday, December 11th

  • Video Book Review: Janeen Ippolito
  • Book Review & Guest “Embrace Your Inner Fangirl: Three Easy Ways to Support Authors (That Don’t Require Reviewing or Purchasing Books)”: Wounded but Hopeful

Thursday, December 12th

Friday, December 13th

Saturday, December 14th

 

Cover Reveal: the first one was an illusion.

So there is this amazing, whimsical book titled, Illusionary. It already has a beautiful cover. When it came out I hosted an Interview with author Desiree Williams, which you can read here.

So to refresh, here’s the back copy with the old cover:

IllusionaryDorothy got sucked into a tornado.

Alice fell down a hole.

Wendy flew to Neverland.

Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.

No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.

Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.

***

The first cover is so cute with it’s pink and purple tones and the innocent girl who perfectly represents Kam’s childlike wonder. How is any new cover going to top that?

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V

I can’t wait!

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Designer: J.L. Mbewe of PalaCreative

 

Oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful! It still has the gorgeous pink and purple tones, but now it also has a maturity and a mystery to it. And I love the magic sparkles.

Illusionary is currently available at the following retailers:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/34OTdz0

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2XeMI6d

Kobo: https://bit.ly/32CK8aX

iBooks: https://apple.co/2K92oCj

Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2KchWpg

About the author:

Desiree WilliamsDesiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at www.desireewilliamsbooks.com

Author Links

 Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads / Newsletter

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