Thursday, April 19, 2018

C.S. Johnson Author Interview and a Linky


C.S. Johnson has an awesome new series coming out soon. I've already read an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of the first book, Kingdom of Ash and Soot, and was hooked! First I will introduce the book, since she mentions it in her interview. By the way, don't you agree that it's a beautiful cover?

Kingdom of Ash and Soot

Image may contain: 1 person, night and text

Book Description:

“I want to be free.” The words came rushing out of me before I could think through their implications and consequences.

“There are two things you need to know about yourself if you want to be free—what you stand for, and what you stand against.” Lady Penelope held up her hands, brandishing a pair of daggers that had been hidden in her skirts. “This world lives enslaved to its destruction, and so long as you are living, as long as you are fighting, you will be free.”

I gazed at the daggers, transfixed. Each blade was clothed in a leather scabbard, but the silver and obsidian of the daggers’ hilts winked at me, as though it was calling for me.

PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodov√° has worked as a servant in her stepmother's household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

With a fun blend of historical fiction, true love, castle intrigue, and family dysfunction, The Order of the Crystal Daggers is the latest adventure series from C. S. Johnson.

This book is not yet available
for purchase. Here's a link
to the book on GoodReads.


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Author Interview:
C.S. Johnson


1. What does a typical day in your home look like?
“Messy” is the first word that comes to mind. I joke that I am the Stay at Home Sex Goddess rather than the Stay at Home Mom. I don’t cook or clean very often or very well (my mother is cringing as I write this) but I definitely have kids. They are still very young yet, so they get into everything and every day I lament the growing pile of laundry, even if it will be a week before I force myself to take care of it. I have what I call “The Bear Family,” because I have a son and daughter. Together with my husband, we will one day cosplay as the Bearenstain Bears. We have a dog right now, too, who counts double as a furry vacuum cleaner. My husband goes to work, and I take care of the house, and periodically I collapse in my shower wondering if I’m a good enough mom and worrying about how I will fail them in life. But there are bad days, too. Just kidding! There are good days and better days, but I am definitely grateful for all I have and I am so glad I do have what I have, even if it gets hectic once in a while.

2. Do you use your own name or a pseudonym?
I use “C. S. Johnson,” and it is so funny how it worked out, because C. S. Lewis and Samuel Johnson are among my favorite authors. I enjoy both of them and since Johnson is my married name, I could not have planned it out without being a stalker at some point. I attribute that to God’s sense of humor.

3. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I like to think I can write a book a month, but I am basically useless while I wait for it to be edited. It depends on the book, too. Some stories just come, and others come enough to entice me, and others I have to beg and plead and kick and scream before they come out to play. Slumbering was the first book that took me a long time to write, and the two books after that in the series, Calling and Submerging were both entirely rewritten as well.

4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I started writing just as the ebook revolution came to be. My first Kindle was $200, and it was the original. I was actually sad when it died. But I would tell myself that it was just possible to write, first, and to edit like crazy. I’m still learning how to write books in the sense that I can play with different things, and see how they go. One of the best things that I learned while writing my novella series was I don’t do short books well. Most of my books are 60K or more. I tried to keep it around 50K for those, and it was just hard. I also don’t like to do longer books. Kingdom of Ash and Soot is close to 100K, and I can tell it’s a good book because I can read it and I don’t even realize how much I’ve read until it’s over and I am wanting more.

So I would tell myself to DO IT and EDIT IT, and just keep going.

5. Where do you usually find inspiration for your books?
I like big-concept ideas mixed in with stuff that amuses and intrigues me. I love finding things that make me feel clever and I cheer when I’ve made someone laugh. The Starlight Chronicles was my homage to my teenage angst, but also a love letter to an atheist friend of mine on the nature of believe and specifically the believer’s journey; the Divine Space Pirates was a romantic treatise on politics, religion, family, and truth; and The Order of the Crystal Daggers is my homage to my heritage as well as my journey through understanding freedom and the nature of it as I see it in different parts of my life.

Most of my work revolves around seeing things we know in a different way. Faith and fantasy, politics and leadership, myths and true myths; all of these things matter to me, and I want people to see them not just for what they are, or what they were, but for what they could be.

6. How many books to you plan to write for this series?
I like to play with different things. I consider myself a young writer, and I probably will be for a long time. But I’ve tried different things, such as using different POVs, lengths, series lengths, pantsing and planning, changing it up with male and female MCs and different genres. So it’s not always clear how many books will be in a series, and I’m okay with that. I do like to keep it to trilogies if I can, but my Starlight series is still something I enjoy to reread immensely. I know I want to try to write different lengths for most of the series I have planned. The Divine Space Pirates and The Order of the Crystal Daggers were both good ideas for trilogies because of the elements of three that were both presented in the stories themselves (Heaven, Earth, and Hell; grandmother, mother, daughter; specific, theme-driven conflicts on social, personal, and inner-personal levels). But I know I have a 5-part fantasy adventure planned, and another sci-fi that will be at least a trilogy, and I have another fun dystopia planned that’s a duology. Most of the time, it’s the stories that plan themselves.

7. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
For me, most of it becomes more difficult when I write about relationships. I know there are some well-worn generalities about men and women and what they find attractive and how they act on it, but I believe there are exceptions, and lots of them. So it is hard to hear someone say “I don’t think this how a guy/girl like this would approach this,” and not think “but there are SOME who would!”

8. How do you select the names of your characters?
There are a number of ways I do, but each character name is important to me. I enjoy naming characters. For me, that is their “conception” moment. They are truly alive when I call them by their names. I enjoy having stories behind the name, too, and sometimes their name helps define their characters better. For example, “Theo” in Beauty’s Curse was inspired by Theophilus from the book of Acts. His name means “Lover of God,” and Theo plays a large role throughout the plot of the series that matches his name ironically and accurately. In the Starlight Chronicles, “Hamilton” came from a number of things, but I enjoy seeing a name that means “beautiful mountain,” as it is moved toward a life completely different from the one he planned. “Aerie” from The Heights of Perdition was a name that solidified her character and her role—she is always causing trouble, both good and bad, for the people in her life who love her.

For Kingdom of Ash and Soot, Eleanora came from a desire to retell Cinderella, but later on, I forgot about that part, and I enjoyed her name because her two main identities throughout the book—“Nora,” from her brother, and “Ella,” from her love interest—show the dynamics her choices place on her. I know from having my own various nicknames that there is something to owning who you are and still being unique to different people. It is exciting to see which name or identity she will choose for herself.

9. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
YES, definitely! It’s too fun not to hide some hints and clues along the way. I do it for many reasons, but most of the things I hide or include are things that mean something to me. Several characters are inspired by real people and I enjoy getting to tell stories where they interact with characters from my mind.

10. What does literary success look like to you?
I write to give, and I live to be able to give back. I want to be able to make a living, even a modest one, and still be able to give back. I have a few ideas for non-profits and just general ways to give back. I am very aware that I have a great life, and even though I still have my share of problems, I can do something to make someone else’s life better, and I want to be able to do that.

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My Latest Book Reviews:


Dragon School: First Message by [Wilson, Sarah K. L. ]


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Welcome to my weekend blog hop -
Make My Saturday Sweet #265

Make My Saturday Sweet is a weekend blog hop for all family friendly blogs. You are welcome to link your favorite post from the past week(s) and to visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment. It's a really easy and fun way to make new friends and to catch up on old acquaintances.

Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

It's time for another Make My Saturday Sweet blog hop!

Join me (your host) for this fun and easy hop.
All family friendly blogs are welcome!

I would love for you to follow me on

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow Tina (your host) on one or more links listed above.
  • Link up a post from your family friendly blog.
  • Please try to add my hop button on your post or side-bar.
  • Share about this hop on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
  • Visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment.
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Amanda’s Books and More

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dragon School Books 7 and 8

Dragon School:
First Message

Dragon School: First Message by [Wilson, Sarah K. L. ]

About the Book:

Title: Dragon School: First Message | Author: Sarah K. L. Wilson | Genre: Fantasy Adventure | Pages: 82 | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Truth lies beneath the surface.

A new story from USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson

After a stunning revelation at the healing arches, Amel is more desperate than ever to deliver her message to Comard Eaglespring. But nothing is ever that simple and when old friends and adversaries resurface, Amel discovers her world is not entirely what it seemed

Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern and Christopher Paolini’s Eragon will love Dragon School.

First Message is episode seven of Dragon School – expect a new episode every eighteen days!

Always FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Purchase on Amazon

My Review:

Dragon School: First Message is Book 7 in this new and exciting young adult fantasy adventure. Amel is growing in her role as a trainee dragon rider. She's apprenticed to the best. But the good guys are few and the bad guys keep getting stronger. There's one princess of light and one of darkness. Then danger gets too close to Amel and threatens the one she loves. This is a quick read with a cliffhanger ending!


Dragon School:
Warring Promises


Dragon School: Warring Promises by [Wilson, Sarah K. L.]

About the Book:

Title: Dragon School: Warring Promises | Author: Sarah K. L. Wilson | Genre: Fantasy Adventure | Pages: 96 | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Promises are great - until you have to choose which ones to honor.

A new story from USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson

With a friend kidnapped by the Dusk Covenent and urgent messages to deliver to the Dominar, it looks like Amel will be forced to choose between loyalties again - until her friends' choices take the decision out of her hands. Now, she has to follow ancient prophecies to a place of power or risk losing all of them to her enemies.

Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern and Christopher Paolini’s Eragon will love Dragon School.

Warring Promises is episode eight of Dragon School – expect a new episode every eighteen days!

Always FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Purchase on Amazon

My Review:

Dragon School: Warring Promises is Book 8 in this new and exciting young adult fantasy adventure. Amel can't hide behind her trainee status as the war forces her into bigger roles and more dangerous situations. When her master is called away, she has to stand on her own two feet even if one leg is lame. Does she have what it takes to fight alongside the red dragons when they're obviously outnumbered? And, what secret has Raolcan been keeping from her?


More Dragon School Books:


More Books by Sarah Wilson:


About the Author:
Sarah K. L. Wilson

Sarah K L Wilson


USA Today bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson, hails from the rocky Canadian Shield in Northern Ontario where she lives with her husband and two small boys. Her interests include the outdoors, history, and philosophy. Her books are always about fantastical adventures in other worlds.



Disclosure: I received an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) for both books and these are my honest reviews.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Weekend at Britannia Bay and a Linky


These are my last photos of our weekend at Britannia Bay.
Don't forget Earth Day on Sunday! If you need ideas, then
check out my post, Celebrate Earth Day.

This blog is best viewed in Google Chrome.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.















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

Here's a peek at
my latest post
on 1camera1mom:





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

My Latest Book Reviews:

Tracing Shadows: Scout Book 1 of 2 by [Lidell, Alex]


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


Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!


I would love for you to follow me on
and
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Monday, April 16, 2018

A Wizard's Dark Dominion

A Wizard's Dark Dominion
The Gods and Kings Chronicles Book 1

A Wizard's Dark Dominion (The Gods and Kings Chronicles Book 1) by [Haywood, Lee H.]

About the Book:

Title: A Wizard's Dark Dominion (The Gods and Kings Chronicles Book 1) | Author: Lee H. Haywood | Pages: 278 | Genre: Dark Fantasy | Recommended Ages: Mature Young Adult and Up

Book Description:

Condemned for using a forbidden spell. Imprisoned in a cell buried deep beneath the earth. One wizard will make his captors regret their choice.

When Demetry, a promising young wizard at Taper Academy, discovers a fire-damaged book hidden in the headmaster's study, he can't contain his excitement. The book is the Paserani Haote, an ancient spell book that contains the original teachings of the gods. Eager for a challenge, Demetry delves into the book's dark arts. But when he fails to control the book's most treacherous spell, it sets off a deadly chain of events that rocks Taper Academy to its core.

Although Demetry's crime is punishable by death, his life is inexplicably spared. Instead of being sent to the gallows, he is sent to Coljack, a fortress prison built to house the kingdom's most dangerous criminals. After the prison warden begins to put Demetry through a series of brutal tests, Demetry realizes the prison isn't what it seems, and the key to survival might be his mysterious new cellmate, an ancient wizard who stole a weapon capable of reshaping the world from the king.

Purchase on Amazon:
Kindle | Paperback


My Review:

A Wizard's Dark Dominion is intense with a kingdom full of evil leaders and tainted heroes at best.  There's plenty of bloodshed and torture, not my typical read, but so well written and fast paced that it held my attention. Characters are key to making a good story and I wanted to know what would happen to them. There were fascinating fight scenes and a brilliant battle at the end, but it's not the end of the story! It's book one in The Gods and Kings Chronicles.


About the Author:

Lee H. Haywood

Lee H. Haywood is the author of The Gods and Kings Chronicles. After majoring in history, Lee spent his days serving his community as a high school history teacher, while at night he honed his craft as a writer. His first book, THE GUARDIAN, came out in December of 2015 and became a featured story on Wattpad, eventually garnering over 60,000 reads. Lee currently lives in Arizona with his wife and dog. When not writing Lee enjoys playing soccer, tinkering with Photoshop, and exploring the world.



Disclosure: This is my honest and voluntary review. There are no affiliate links.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Celebrate Earth Day and a Linky


If you're a teacher or a parent, then you'll find several helpful links and videos here for making kids aware of the importance of Earth Day and looking after our planet. This year Earth Day will be celebrated on Sunday April 22nd. The free rhyming picture book "Think Green! Think Green!" on Amazon Kindle is for a limited time, so grab it now before the sale ends!

I also have a link below the YouTube videos on what the Bible says about creation and earth care. This link provides some good Bible study content. It offers plenty of verses, which are organized under headings like "God's Relation with Creation" and "Humans' Relation with Creation."

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


Rhyming Picture Book
Sorry, this book is no longer free!

Think Green! Think Green! (Rhyming Children's Picture Book About Caring for Our Planet) by [Huss, Sally]













Disclosure: There are no affiliate links in this post.
Please Note: The FREE eBook is for a limited time and the price will change!


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My Latest Book Review:


Blades Of Sorcery (Crown Service Book 3) by [Edun, Terah]


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Welcome to my weekend blog hop -
Make My Saturday Sweet #264

Make My Saturday Sweet is a weekend blog hop for all family friendly blogs. You are welcome to link your favorite post from the past week(s) and to visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment. It's a really easy and fun way to make new friends and to catch up on old acquaintances.

Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

It's time for another Make My Saturday Sweet blog hop!

Join me (your host) for this fun and easy hop.
All family friendly blogs are welcome!

I would love for you to follow me on

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow Tina (your host) on one or more links listed above.
  • Link up a post from your family friendly blog.
  • Please try to add my hop button on your post or side-bar.
  • Share about this hop on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
  • Visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment.
Blog Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

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Blades of Sorcery and Author Interview!

Blades of Sorcery
Crown Service Book 3

Blades Of Sorcery (Crown Service Book 3) by [Edun, Terah]

About the Book:

Title: Blades of Sorcery (Crown Service Book 3) | Author: Terah Edun | Pages: 244 | Genre: Sword and Sorcery | Recommended Age: Mature Young Adults and Up | Trigger Warning: Violence/Torture

Book Description:

The night has lifted and Sara Fairchild is out for blood. But this time, it’s her own. A gifted fighter and a skilled battle mage, Sara is now fighting everything she stands for — her heritage. For too long, she has held onto the certainty that her father was an honorable man.

But what does honor mean when you’re at war and surrounded by corruption from all sides? As Sara Fairchild brings the Kades to their knees and manages to capture a prize that rivals Nissa Sardonien’s worth to imperial intelligence, she has to wonder — how far should she go to extract the secrets her Empress and her empire needs?

As she fights to outmaneuver her growing list of enemies and win a war that becomes more complicated by the day, Sara Fairchild knows that no matter what, the empire will never be the same.

Purchase on Amazon

My Review:

Blades of Sorcery is the third book in the Crown Service series by Terah Edun. If you like sword and sorcery with plenty of action and colorful characters, then you'll enjoy this series. Sara's violent nature is always on edge as she gets squeezed from all sides. She's getting closer to the truth, but at what cost? She's lucky to have Ezekiel who understands her moods and who is the only one able to counter balance her. He remains calm and keeps his wits about him when Sara has a tendency to lose it. This is the most violent of the books so far with torture scenes.

My Previous Reviews:

Author Interview:
Terah Edun


1. When do you find time to read and what do you usually like to read?
I have such a busy book publication schedule that I don’t often have as much time to read as I did in the past. I try my best to factor in a slow Sunday or two every month. My favorite books are young adult fantasy novels. I know authors who don’t like to read within their own sub-genre, but for me it’s the best imaginable escape and always pushes me to be a better writer myself.
Some of my favorite reads of 2018 have been:
- Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
- The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
- Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
As the year goes on I keep an up-to-date list of those favorite reads on my About Me page as well.

2. How do you prefer to write your books - with a pen/pencil, typing, or dictation?
Typing – always! Even as a child I couldn’t stand to handwrite anything out and cursive was the bane of my existence. Now, I happily type away and I’m pretty proud of the fact that my average typing speed is up to 70 words for a minute.
Here’s a fun way to test your speed – let me know what you got in the comments!

3. Do you use your own name or a pseudonym?
My own. I’ve never been interested in a pen name.

4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep going – you’re on the right path!

5. What would you like readers to know about your latest book or book project?
Well, I just released the 4th book in my Crown Service series—Blades Of Destiny. Now I’m going back to a parallel project, the Courtlight series, and finishing the final book in that series.

6. How much do you normally spend on your cover designs (if you’re self-published)?
Cover designs run me about $300 each book. If you’re interested in suggestions for cover designers to use, just shout out what genre of book you’re writing and I’m happy to help.

7. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot or avatar?
Oh, that’s a tough one. But I think I’d have to a say a Pegasus. I’ve always had a thing for flying horses.

8. What does literary success look like to you?
My own television show!

9. What’s the best way to market your books?
Writing the next one!

10. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Getting the desires and intuitions right. Even the development of experiences of a female versus a male protagonist are different, so I have to be more careful when writing the guys.

11. Where do you usually find inspiration for your books?
Everyday life and soundtracks. I love movie soundtracks. The one that just recently sparked interest in my plotting is Opar by Zoe Mthiyane from the Legend of Tarzan soundtrack. I also love Crown by Camila Cabello from the Bright soundtrack.

12. If you didn’t write full-time, what would you do for work, or if you write part-time, what other job/jobs do you have?
I was, and still occasionally am, a communications consultant. I’d love to one day work with the United Nations back in Kenya.

13. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
For the most part – not anymore. I check to see if I’m on the right track for reader expectations but I learned my lesson long ago that reviews, especially Goodreads reviews, are for the readers not the authors. And I respect that.

14. What was your hardest scene or book to write?
Blades Of Illusion: Crown Service #2 was the hardest book so far. I wrote it once and then literally re-wrote the entire book a second time. But it was far superior in the second round, so I’m glad I did it.

15. Does your family support your career as a writer?
Absolutely! My parents are my biggest fans. They even ask me about characters when I go home to visit them.



Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book. This is my honest and voluntary review. There are no affiliate links.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Eating at Nana's and a Linky


If you saw last week's post, then you know that we spent Easter at Nana's and I mentioned that we enjoyed her good cooking. Here are a few photos of what that looked like!

This blog is best viewed in Google Chrome.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.












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

Here's a peek at
my latest post
on 1camera1mom:





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

My Latest Book Reviews:

Tracing Shadows: Scout Book 1 of 2 by [Lidell, Alex]


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


Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!


I would love for you to follow me on
and
Follow on Bloglovin

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow me on one or more links above or via email.
  • Link-up your post with a picture and follow as many new blogs as you like.
  • If possible, copy the button code below and add it on your linked post or blog's side-bar.
  • Tell others about this hop on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.

The Button Code:

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This is a Wordless Wednesday blog hop.



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