Dear Author cover reveal

Hello C. O. Bonham here, today I have the pleasure of hosting a cover reveal for a fun book. Dear Author is a wonderful tribute to our favorite authors and the joy they give us through their work. I have already read an advance copy of Laura A. Grace’s book and it makes my bookish heart happy.

The beauty of Laura’s book is that it can be read by both author and reader. A struggling author may read this little book to find encouragement. An avid reader may read this to remember that there is a fellow human being behind their favorite characters and stories.

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl
Laura A. Grace
Genres: Self-Help, Motivational
Publication date: December 3, 2019

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.

Pre-order links:

Signed PaperbackAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository (Coming soon!)

Laura is also offering free gifts to anyone who preorders her book. Just fill out the form below to get these fun items: Quote card, illustration, notepad and book mark.

Dear Author Pre-Order Goodies.jpg

Pre-Order Goodies Form

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!

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To the Realm of Makers and Back Again

I am back from another year of Realm Makers, the only place to go if you are a Christian, fantasy and science fiction writer.

But, before I tell you more I’m going to update you on my last post. The Escape anthology contest is over and I can now tell you which story was mine.

I wrote the one titled “Raised in Captivity.” It was number eight on the list. I did not win the readers choice award but thank you to anyone who voted for mine. “Raised in Captivity” will still be published in the anthology so it’s all good. The publishing industry is not for the impatient, however, as the anthology publication date is almost a year from now.

The conference was last weekend, August 7 & 8, 2015, in St. Louis, Mo on the UMSL (University of Missouri at St. Louis) campus. This is the same place it was held in 2013.

The Keynote speaker was Robert Liparulo author of the Dreamhouse Kings series. He gave inspired talks. The first one was about the need to, stop worrying about what others think, and to stop doubting that you’re good enough. The second one was the opposite, GO was the message. Go start writing, go do what you need to do.

I did not have time for any sightseeing this year because the conference tried something new, an extra workshop on Thursday afternoon. The Irresistible Novel: by Jeff Gerke. In this class he talked about the brain chemistry of the reader and literally how to make your writing addictive. All this to plug his new book, of the same title; which naturally, sold out. I loved it, Jeff Gerke is an engaging speaker, and he writes exactly how he talks. Every author should have a collection of his books.

Beyond that though, this Early Bird class really helped to extend the Conference experience. It felt like three days instead of two and a half.

This year continued the tradition of the Splickety critique pre-party. During which I was mortified when my submission was read aloud. Some of the feedback was helpful, but 500 words isn’t really enough to get a good critque.

Another new feature this year was the addition of a third track of classes. Though I like having options I will always miss that first year with only one track, everyone went to the same classes and you didn’t have to worry about missing anything. This year featured three main tracks: World building, Editing, and Marketing. In addition to the main tracks there were also electives that also ran in groups of three and ranged in topics from book cover design to dealing with magic in Christian fantasy.

I feel like Editing is where I am in my writing Journey so I chose this course. David Farland was an entertaining speaker, who was very informed on his topic. He even threw in a lecture on what to do when your book is optioned for a movie. However, his anecdotal teaching style made it hard for me to take notes. This is a course where I think I will benefit from purchasing recordings. (Yes recordings are new this year too.) Also I missed a lot of his talk because I was busy attending mentoring appointments.

The highlight, for me at least, was meeting Donita K Paul the author of The Dragonkeeper Chronicles. I love her books so much, that I spent most of my one on one meeting with her, being star struck. I understand that the mentors set aside time in their schedules to talk to me about my writing, but it’s hard for me to talk about my writing, even with people I’m close to. Put me in front of someone I admire and whose own work has been a big part of my life, I freeze up.

One option I am glad I took advantage of was the opportunity to have a mentor critique the opening of my novel. It was an extra fee but worth every penny to be able to sit down with someone who already had feedback for me. I selected L.B. Graham for my mentor, and I would recommend him to anyone looking to do this next year. He is easy to talk with and his critiques were all very constructive, not to mention, absolutely right.

Every year there is a costume/ awards diner on Friday night. This year I dressed up as a Hogwarts student. I had to stand up front when they announced the winners of the anthology contest. You can imagine how uncomfortable I felt.

Saturday night there was a game room in addition to a Nerf war. I chose the game room. It’s easier to talk over games anyway. This was also the night I went around trying to get the rest of my books signed.

My Realm Makers tradition is to always buy more books than I can afford but never as many as I actually want. Sometimes I just have to say maybe next year to a certain book, or author. But yeah, if the Author is there, why not get it signed? In previous years actual book signings had been held. But this year was a giant game of stalk the author.

Thoughts on the conference experience:

After three years you’d think this would be easy for me, but I am very introverted, and I get crowd anxiety. So the first year was great for me, it was small and easy to navigate. The second year was also good, more people but still manageable. This year, attendance exploded. I am happy for the conference but I felt overwhelmed most of the time. Thank you to everyone who was ok with standing in out of the way corners with me.

I always feel torn, I enjoy the experience and I learn a lot, but honestly I feel better after I get home and start reading all the books I bought. I also like the after conference motivation. I have all this feedback to work with, and ideas to try. The hard part is keeping that drive going. I started my novel after the first conference. I finished the first draft after the second one. ( They were less than a year apart, so it’s not as bad as you might think.) After this one I am going to try for a presentable second maybe third draft before next year. My goal is a book to sell at conference five. Ok, maybe conference six.

Holding back on the Holy

Greetings all, It’s me again with another random musing. I know, it’s been awhile but at least it hasn’t been a year.

This Halloween I would like to talk about my pet peeve. It’s related because it’s about Creepy themed shows; it’s when people use Christian Theology but forget Christ.

First offender: Supernatural. TV show on the CW network.

I thought it was pretty good, about two brothers hunting the supernatural, but then they did this god awful storyline where God was well, not around and the angels were kind of jerks and the devil was there but throughout it all there was no Jesus. Lost my viewer ship after Sam and Dean were possessed by the devil and the archangel Michel.

Second Offender: Sleepy Hollow. TV Show on the FOX network.

I love Man out of time stories. So I thought this would be a cool show. So far all it does is irritate me. In the show Ichabod crane is brought to the twenty-first century to defeat the headless horseman again. Turns out that old headless is actually the first horseman of the apocalypse. Now Ichabod must use George Washington’s Bible to save the world from the end times. There’s a Bible, Bible verses are quoted, but there doesn’t seem to be much God. Come on, If part of the Bible is true then the whole thing is true.

Why is Ichabod Crane not bowing his head in prayer to blast Demons in the name of Christ. Come on Can’t you just see George Washington turning in his grave because modern TV writers have no idea what it means to be a Holy Warrior. This would have been a most awesome story if Frank Perreti had thought of it first.

Lost my viewer ship after the sin eater episode. Jesus Christ is the only sin eater that can absolve you of sin. No mortal can do it. Also Revelation is NOT about a final Supernatural battle between good and evil. ( Emphisis mine because it applies to the above show as well.) It’s about Jesus retuning for his faithful in the church. They don’t understand, you can’t stop Revelation. There will be no more Earth. It’s Heaven or Hell and the characters in these shows are not making the right choices.

Third Offender: Constantine. TV show on the NBC network

This TV show is about a man who fights demons and talks to angels. He is based on a Comic book series in the DC universe and I confess to only watching one episode of the show and reading none of the comics. But It looks like this guy managed to get an innocent sent to hell and now his own soul is forfeit.

The problem is that Jesus is the one who decides if your soul is forfeit or not he will redeem anyone who asks. And just like there is only one way to Heaven there is also only one way to hell. Not accepting Jesus as your savior. You can’t send someone to hell they make the choice. Maybe you can help them choose poorly but that is not what the show was implying. They showed her being physically dragged to hell. I don’t think it works that way.

Also Demons can only be cast out in the name of Christ. I know of no other way that will work.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; Mark 16:17 In my Bible these words are in Red. So the “In my Name,” bit refers to Jesus. Just to clarify. Constantine does not use the name Jesus he uses Latin incantations and Symbols.

Sadly it isn’t just TV that does this but literature as well. It’s harder with books because you can be more easily swayed by an author’s words than by a TV shows special effects. But there is a whole Genre built up around my pet peeve. So I will choose two Popular and very addictive instances that penetrated my beloved YA genre.

Book offenders:

Artemis Fowl Book by: Eion Colfer.

I almost let it slide, didn’t think about it too much when I read it the first time but then I read it again. Artemis tries to kill a Fairy using Holy Water. Holy Water. Really. Well boy genius didn’t it occur to you that if a fairy can be killed using Holy Water then there must be something Unholy about them. And if fairies are unholy then there must be a Holy power in the world that decides what is Holy. In a later book Artemis has a side thought, he wonders if saint Peter will let him into Heaven. What? Sorry genius that isn’t Peter’s call.  Artemis needs to decide what he believes. Peter might have the keys but Jesus is the gate.

Interestingly throughout the books there is this consensus among the fairies that Evolution is a fact But they also have this nature goddess that they worship, sometimes it feels like they just worship nature. So that can be confusing.

Also according to book five, Artemis Fowl and the lost Colony, Demons are fairies too. Very suspicious. These are very unholy fairies indeed. Never lost my readership, I cut him some slack, the guy is Irish after all.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp Book by: Rick Yancey

This book is about a boy named Alfred Kropp who has the worst life ever. The first few chapters just make you want to cry. It’s so sad. But exciting with a great Arthurian plot line.

Unfortunately in later books it gets into all of this catholic nonsense about Alfred being the beloved of heaven and the Arch angel Michel basically takes over the role that Jesus should have, kind of like in Supernatural.

I read the whole trilogy just to see how it ended. This guys life is sad you’re practically rooting for him to die just so he can stop suffering. I read the whole series just to see what happens to him it ends kind of how I expected it to but it was defiantly a wild ride getting there.

Interestingly Harry Potter did not upset me that much J.K. Rowling did a good job of making her world unique and separate the only complaint I have is the inclusion of Christmas but that’s a different peeve for a different time.

In conclusion I would like to end not with a Bible verse but with a song verse.

The church’s one foundation

            is Jesus Christ her Lord;

            she is his new creation

            by water and the Word.

            From heaven he came and sought her

            to be his holy bride;

            with his own blood he bought her,

            and for her life he died.

 If that verse is not the heart of your message you have no business Quoting the Bible (Unless you are Jewish quoting from the old testament) or calling on our angels or casting out demons.

Publication Validation

Hooray! I got my copy of Cross & Cosmos: year one in the mail today.

Anthology Cover Art

Naturally the first thing I did was flip to the contents page to find out what pages of the book my stories are on. And the answer is pages 347-396. Pages 347-360 are my first TC2 (The Cross & Cosmos) story “Souls are Wild” and pages 361-396 are its companion story “Black Hat Magic.”

This blog post could be a completely selfish tooting of my own flute (an instrument that I do know how to play by the way) or this could be an opportunity to remind myself and you that I am just one of eleven authors in this anthology; author of only two out of twenty-two stories. A 49 page drop in a 453 page book.

So on that humbling note here are some of my favorite (not written by me) stories from the first year of The Cross and Cosmos.

“Christmas Time” By: Kersley Fitgerald (I love time travel stories)

“Power of a Name” By: Avily Jerome (Action fantasy adventure)

“Fungus Among Us” By: Grace Bridges (Who is studying who? the answer might surprise you)

“The Quest” By: J. L. Rowan (Fantasy epic featuring a telepathic animal companion)

Why these four out of all of the amazing stories and awesome writers?

They are all relatively short, they are all from the original first four issues of TC2 so you can go read them online for free HERE, also all four have sequels written only for this anthology so now you have to buy the book not just for my sequel but for these others.

I’ve just had stories printed in a book, what am I going to do next? I am going to read my new book and then write more because seeing your name in print is an instant shot of confidence.

Don’t forget to buy it here: http://www.marcherlordpress.com/bookstore/fantasy/the-cross-and-the-cosmos-anthology-year-1/

Save the Books!

There is an alarming trend occurring in our society. More and more books are being committed to a nonexistent state. Some of them never to see life in print. How can we trust humanities greatest literary works to the digital ether? We have organizations to Save the whales and to save this or that landmark but who will save the books?

 I am not tech savvy. Technology hates me.  I will never be jumping on the E-book band wagon. But, you ask, how can a writer who relies on the internet for publication argue against E-Books? A printer I say. I print everything. Hard copy, hard copy, hard copy, that is the key to preservation.

 The greatest achievement in human history is the Book. The printed word. Not this new fad of downloading electronic books onto portable electronic devices. Nothing can replace the feel of a page between your fingers or the smell of aged book paper.

 Technology is fallible. It will let you down. But words safely written, typed, or printed onto good paper. They will always be there. It’s true that paper decays, becomes brittle, grows mold, and yes, it can even burn. But drives can be erased, Information deleted, computers crash and power go out. Both systems have their faults and both, some would argue, offer advantages.

 Books are idiot proof. Somehow even an illiterate seems to know how they work.

Step one open.

Step two stare into it.

Step three turn the page.

Repeat steps two and three until end.

 You never have to wait for a book to charge or boot up or download. They don’t require batteries, headphones or fancy cases to store them in. No extended warranty needed.

Books will never crash or loose a signal or be disconnected from a network. Once the printed word is in your hand you have total access to it. No IP address needed. No 404 errors, no redirection and no passwords to remember.

 I love books. Let’s keep printing books. Let’s keep making lots of copies. Let’s make sure that the next generation knows what Old books smell like.

Never let the books die.

 Here’s a challenge for everyone who reads this post: Go out and find a real life paper version of Ray Bradbury’s classic sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451. DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT. Go to the library, a bookstore, borrow it from a friend maybe you already own it, just make sure it’s a book. Hold it in your hand. Then read it. If you’ve read it before then read it again. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Treasure it. Save it