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Anomaly ~ Team Novel Teen Blog Tour

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on September 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

Anomaly

By Krista McGee

 

 

Question.

 

 

 

 Feel.

 

 

 

Believe.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Thalli is an anomaly.  She thinks.  She questions.  And she feels!

 

 

 


 

 

 

In a world where emotion has been eliminated Thalli is a threat not only to herself but to Pod C.  Emotions destroyed the world but for the few that managed to survive below the surface.  Pod C is the third generation to be created and emotion was to have been stripped from their genetic make-up, but something is wrong with Thalli - she feels.

 

 

 


 

 

 

With minutes left before her life is ended Thalli must decide whose truth she is going to believe.  Is the truth that she has been taught her whole life true?  Or should she believe John, a man from before when times were primitive, a man who believes in The Designer a being who is not human?  Even more intriguing John speaks of emotions and feelings as if they were a blessing and not a horrible disease.  And what about Berk her childhood friend that has tried to protect her and save her life?

 

 

 


 

But The Ten are determined to save the world that they have created and if Thalli's death will help them accomplish that goal so be it!

 


 

 

 

Anomaly is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy from Thomas Nelson, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  If you like books that hook you with the climax at the beginning of the book you will LOVE Anomaly, just don't let The Ten know or this may be the last book you ever read!

 

 

 


 

 

 

Though of a different genre than her previous works, Krista still hits the mark with an entertaining and enjoyable reading experience.  She creates characters that one truly cares about and doesn't mind spend time getting to know them.  Though the target audience is Young Adult I would say that adults and some older J Fiction readers will find much to capture their attention as well.

Book blurb: 

 

Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid. 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again. 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music. 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk—a scientist being groomed by The Ten—convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the Scientists’ Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance. 

 

 

 


 

 

 

As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer—someone even more powerful than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all along. 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out.

 

 

Interview with Krista McGee 


 

 

1) What inspired you to write Anomaly

 

 

 

I have always loved dystopian stories, from books like 1984, Brave New World and The Giver to movies like Gattica and Matrix. But I always wished a dystopian story would be told from a Christian worldview. When my publisher asked if I'd be willing to tackle just that, I jumped at the chance!

 

 

 


 

 

 

2) How was writing Anomaly different than First DateStarring Me, and Right Where I Belong? And do you have a preference in the these two genre? 

 

 

 

Writing Anomaly was different in so many ways. In my first books, the world in which my characters lived was real, and the time period was now. In Anomaly, the world is fictional and it is set in the future. Also, in my first books, the plots were taken from biblical stories. In Anomaly, the plot was all mine. So there was much more creative freedom in Anomaly, but it was more difficult to write. I love both genres, though. I don't think I could pick a favorite.

 

 

 


 

 

 

3) What 3 adjectives would you use to describe Anomaly?

 

 

 

Unflinching, Unpredictable, and Underground

 

 

 


 

 

 

4) If you had to pick one character that you most closely related to in Anomaly, who would it be and why this character? 

 

 

 

I am probably most like Thalli - as a teen, especially, I felt different from everyone around me. I also love music, and God has used music to draw me closer to him. And I can sometimes be a little too curious and overly emotional :).

 

 

 


 

 

 

5) You open Anomaly with the line "Fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds. That's how long I have to live." This opening just pulled me right into the story and I have to admit kept me up until 4:30, because I wanted to know what happened. Did this opening come to you early in the process of writing this book, or did it come later? 

 

 

 

That line was actually there from the beginning. When I sat down to write the proposal for this novel, it was there. I knew readers would need to be pulled in immediately - especially since the setting and characters are so different from setting and characters in contemporary novels. What better way to grab the reader than by giving them a countdown to death?

 

 

 


 

 

 

6) Will this be a multi-book series or will there just be two? 

 

 

 

This is a trilogy - the second book, Luminary, will release in January and the third, Revolutionary, is out next July.

 

 

 


 

 

 

7) Which of your characters(any book) would you most like to spend the afternoon with? Why this character? 

 

 

 

 

 

Great question! I'd probably go back to Right Where I Belong and hang out with Brian. He was my favorite character to write, partly because he is a projection of what I think my son, Thomas (age 10), will be like when he is 18. I'd enjoy listening to his antics and hearing his stories.

 

 

 


 

Author bio

 

 

 

When Krista McGee isn’t living in fictional worlds of her own creation, she lives in Tampa and spends her days as a wife, mom, teacher, and coffee snob. She is also the author of “Anomaly,” “First Date,” “Starring Me,” and “Right Where I Belong.” Learn more about Krista at www.KristaMcGeebooks.com or connect on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Anomaly is available from Amazon

 

 

 


 

 

 

Be sure to check-out all the Team Novel Teen tour stops:

 

• ADD LibrarianAudacious ReaderBlooming with BooksBookworm Reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Anomaly by Krista McGee by clicking on the links above. 

 

Exclusive interview with Mesu Andrews

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on March 13, 2013 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Andrews_BrokenVessel.jpgToday we have a surprise for you ~ Blooming with Books was one of 10 blogs selected to interview author Mesu Andrews and here is that interview. So sit back and get to know this talented author of Biblical fiction.

 Mesu, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to interview you for the Love in a Broken Vessel blog  tour. Thank you for a brief moment of your time.

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First off I'd like to ask you what about Hosea and Gomer's story made you want to bring it to life for today's reader?  What spoke to your heart?

       I’ve felt broken like Gomer. I was never a prostitute, but I’ve felt shame, forsaken, empty. At a very young age, I thought my life was over, and if it hadn’t been for a dear friend, I would have ended my life. Brokenness is a desperate place—and that’s where God sent Hosea to find a wife. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? How could a godly, righteous man stoop so low to marry a harlot. That’s when I decided to tell the story as if they’d known each other as children. I felt Hosea must have loved her innocence, known her before the world destroyed her. This story has made me view people differently. Every grouchy grocery clerk was once an innocent child, a happy toddler learning to walk. Every maniac driver once peddled a tricycle—or a bicycle with training wheels—thrilled at the varoom sound they made. It is that innocence inside each of us that God adores, that unsullied gentleness and wide-eyed passion to know Him. The harder life hits us, the more breaks and chips we endure, and the less we resemble that innocent child. The more we resemble Gomer…

 

 

 

2) You mention physical, visible evidence of Jonah's 3 days in the belly of the fish. It makes sense that there would permanent evidence of this, but I have to be honest I had never given thought to the lingering effects on Jonah - What made you even think of this detail?

 

       I believe the first time I heard of Jonah’s enduring scars was in another biblical novel written by Ellen Gunderson Traylor titled, Jonah, in which she told the prophet’s story and describes in detail his days in the belly of the great fish. When I began research for Love in a Broken Vessel, I looked into medical journals and ancient Assyrian documents and found that more than likely, Jonah would have indeed had a white, ghostly appearance after spending three days in the digestive acids of a fish. The biblical scholars supposed that this other-worldly presence may have been Yahweh’s divine provision to gain Jonah entrance into the court of Assyria’s king. How else would a nobody prophet from a no-account country gain entry to one of the most powerful nations on earth? I love the sovereignty of God, especially when it works so beautifully in concert with the free will of humankind!

 

 

 

3) You have Jonah tell Hosea that his struggle, emotions, joys and sorrows will often mirror Yahweh's (God's) own - Do you think that this is true of believers today or that it should be?

 

       I believe it’s how God intended it to be—before sin marred His perfect Creation. Humankind was created in God’s image, and that includes God’s emotions. Unfortunately, sin has marred every aspect of our likeness. God issued a special calling to the prophet Hosea, a calling that required everything from Hosea—his life, his emotions, his thoughts, his possessions—just as Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, and that meant leaving their fishing nets, their tax booths, their families, etc. After the resurrection, the Holy Spirit was given to indwell believers, so we can whole-heartedly follow Him as He directs from within. So, should our lives mirror God’s struggle, emotions, joys, and sorrows? Absolutely, because as believers we should be conforming more to the image of Christ each day. Let it be so in me, Lord. 

 

 

 

4) How do you decide what to write?  Is it a story that has touched your heart at one time?  A sermon that made you think?  What?

 

 

 

 

 

       The topics are sort of evolving. My first book was a passion for twelve years (and was actually the second book published, Love’s Sacred Song.) Love Amid the Ashes helped me answer some of personal struggles with the Lord about chronic illness in my own life, having asked many of the same questions Job asked. And as I shared above, Gomer was also a character I related to in her brokenness. As time passes, my editor and agent are helping to steer me toward characters that readers find interesting, and I’ve been asking my readers for input as well. Facebook is a wonderful megaphone to hear what folks are interested in! I have to choose carefully, avoiding characters other authors are currently working on—or have already contracted to write in the near future. We try not to bombard the market with the same characters, but even if two authors write about the same character, their stories are oftentimes vastly different because so many variables are left to interpretation.

How about the folks here at Blooming With Books? Does anyone have a suggestion for a character that hasn’t been written recently? Remember, Old Testament is my stompin’ ground…

 

 

 

5) And finally what Biblical story are you hoping to write about next?

 

       I’m excited to say we’ve just gotten an official title for my fourth book! The Shadow of Jezebel will release in March 2014. Here’s a sneak peek:

 

 

 

Princess Jehosheba (Sheba) wants nothing more than to please her Baal-worshiping abba, Judah’s King, and his first wife Queen Atalyah, the daughter of notorious Queen Jezebel. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the king’s household, Sheba realizes her dark skills as Baal’s priestess reach beyond the world of earthly governments. When both light and darkness align, forcing her to marry Yahweh’s high priest, Sheba enters the unknown world of Yahweh’s Temple. Her husband shows her Yahweh’s truth and a love beyond hope, but can Sheba overcome Jezebel’s lingering torment? Can Yahweh use a fallen priestess to shine the unquenchable light of His love to faithless Judah?    The Shadow of JezebelMeet the woman who saved a king, delivered a nation, and preserved the Light of the World.

 

Mesu, again thank you for your time and may the Lord bless you and your  ministry.

 

Thank YOU, Meagan, for some great questions! And if folks want to find me on the internet, here are a few places to connect:

 


 

 

 

 

All For a Song ~ Blog Tour

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on February 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

All for a Song

By Allison Pittman

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar's life is perfect.  Pastor's daughter engaged to the new Pastor, but something is wanting in her life. 

With just 7 weeks before her marriage to Reverend Brent Logan, Dorothy Lynn heads to St. Louis and her older sister's home.  When a week-long trip to for a wedding dress turns into an eye opening experience of the world beyond, Dorothy Lynn is in danger of losing her very self to the temptations that lie beyond her home in Heron's Nest.

Movies, restaurants, fashionable clothes, and women making a name for themselves.  When Dorothy Lynn has a chance encounter with Roland Lundi she is given the opportunity to forever change the course her life has been on.

When Dorothy sings a song that she has written for Roland Lundi he arranges for Aimee Semple McPherson to hear her song.  Dorothy is turned into the opening for Sister Aimee's crusade.  Dorothy fears the power that she feels as the people respond to her  song and its message.  But when she is given a chance of possible finding her brother Donny, who has moved to Los Angeles. 

But will the wonders and temptations of the 1920's pull Dorothy away from the man she loves, the man waiting for her at the altar?  More importantly will Dorothy be pulled away from the Lord?

Will the six weeks Brent told her to take so she would have no regrets turn into a lifetime?

Dorothy Lynn's life is told from two different timelines - her younger self and present day self at 107 years old.  It is an interesting look at a life, where one is making the decisions that will chart one's life course and then look back on a life with the results of the choices in evidence to regret or to cherish.  Also prominent is the loving grace and forgiveness of God when we lay our mistakes at His feet and seek His forgiveness.

I was provided a copy of this book through the Tyndale Blogger Program all opinions expressed are my own.

~ Author Q and A ~

 

1. What was your inspiration for this book, All for a Song?

     There were so many different pieces that came together with this book; it’s hard to name just one. First, I was introduced to, and then became fascinated with Aimee Semple McPherson, and while I wasn’t ready to take on her story, I knew I wanted to create my own characters to somehow come into her sphere. She was a woman who embraced both ministry and fame, and I wanted to create a character who had that same opportunity. With that, I am so inspired by the decade of the 1920’s—such sweeping social changes, shifts in moral centering, an explosion of choices and opportunities for women. It was a time to test one’s faith—to go against the new norms in pursuit of righteousness. Such a challenge!


2. Tell me about your main character Dorothy Lynn. Was her character based upon anyone in particular?  

     The young Dorothy Lynn, no, not really—not beyond any other singer/songwriter out there. She’s a young woman with a message and a voice, so maybe she’s a mash-up of every musician I know. The older Dorothy Lynn, Miss Lynnie, is somewhat based on the mother of a friend of mine. His mother went to be with the Lord while I was in the final stages of writing this novel, and at her funeral, I learned that she had a stroke years before her passing, during which she had a glimpse of Heaven, and had spent her intervening years longing to return. I remember going home from that celebration of her life and re-writing just about every Breath of Angels scene, incorporating that into Dorothy Lynn’s story. It was exactly what the story needed, and brought about a depth I couldn’t have imagined in the initial draft.

3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?

     I hope that they learn that it’s good to take a chance, to take hold of opportunities that come your way, even if it doesn’t always make sense to do so. Yes, there are times that require periods of prayer and reflection and guidance-seeking, but then there are times when you have to hop on the next train and trust that God has the details well in hand. Along with that, I’d want them to know that while there is breath, there is opportunity for grace and forgiveness, but we might need to humble ourselves. There’s a theme of a longing for home, no matter how enticing the alternative seems.

4. Although this novel is set in the 1920s, how does Dorothy Lynn’s story still resonate today?

    The world today wants nothing more than to entice young women to exploit themselves in some way, and the enemy wants nothing more than to make us think that we are beyond redemption. We all make stupid, thoughtless, reckless decisions; we all get ourselves into such unbelievably embarrassing messes; we all disappoint our loved ones. The world tells you to move on; God tells you to go back.

5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?

    Oh, my goodness. As a historical writer, I loved the time period—that sort of new, innocent fumbling with innovations of the time. One of my favorite scenes was when the 107-year-old Dorothy Lynn experiences her first iPad. (By the way, I had to make her that old in order to make all the history “fit.” I spent every day for a month watching the Willard Scott segment on the Today show making sure that her age would be believable. Wouldn’t you know? Every week there’s somebody that tops the 105th birthday!)


6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?

     I would love it if this book would prompt a reader to reach out to somebody they feel they have lost. Reconciliation is hard—whether you’re the perpetrator or the victim of whatever “wrong” that happened. But life is short, even if you’re going to get more than a century of living, at some time that final day will come. Close those gaps in your life. Offer and ask for forgiveness. Leave a legacy of grace.


7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?

    My tendency (a very purposeful one) is to leave my stories with a bit of an “unfinished” edge. I like my characters to leave the page on the cusp of fulfillment, so that my readers can have the pleasure of imagining those final, satisfying moments. A good friend (and, coincidentally a fan) of mine said, “I love your books. I hate your endings. I’m just going to have to accept that this is what an Allison Pittman story does.” So—how fun was this to write the most definitive ending, ever! To open a story on the last day of a character’s life—so totally new for me.


8. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?

     It goes back to a conversation I had with James Scott Bell back when I’d written approximately 7 chapters of what would become my first novel, Ten Thousand Charms. The whole conversation is chronicled in Chapter 16 of his fabulous book The Art of War for Writers. (I’m the “young woman” – which I was, at the time, sort of…) Anyway, I was frustrated and discouraged, and he explained to me that this writing thing was like a pyramid. At its base, you have everybody who ever thinks they maybe might want to try to start writing a book someday. At the top is Max Lucado. The rest of us are somewhere in-between. “Your job…is to keep moving up the pyramid. Each level presents its own challenges, so concentrate on the ones right in front of you.” I love and welcome every new challenge.

~ About the Author ~

 

   Award-winning author Allison Pittman left a seventeen-year teaching career in 2005 to follow the Lord’s calling into the world of Christian fiction, and God continues to bless her step of faith. Her novels For Time and Eternity and Forsaking All Others were both finalists for the Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction, and her novel Stealing Home won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award. She heads up a successful, thriving writers group in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family—Stella. Visit Allison at her website, www.allisonpittman.com .

Dead Running/Dying to Run Reviews with Giveaway

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on December 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Dead Running and Dying to Run

by Cami Checketts

Dead Running

When Cassidy Christensen wins the entrance into the St. George Marathon, she is about start running for her life.  Two years before her parents were brutally murdered by mercenaries and for some reason the killers think her father is still alive and that Cassidy is the key to finding him.  

As Cassidy tries to make sense of the turmoil in her life, she discovers that she is being followed!   What Muscle Man and Greasy Beanpole want with her and her family has her concerned, but they threatened to do more if she tells anyone.

The one positive aspect of her intense, but brutal marathon training is that it has brought her into contact with two very different men who intrigue her.  But who can she trust?  Jesse, whom she nicknamed Dr. Tattoo?  Or Damon, whom every woman seems to think is perfection?

As the date of St. George's draws nearer, the danger increases.  But when the killers target Cassidy's pregnant sister-in-law two lives hang in the balance.  Who will the mercenaries go after next to get to Cassidy and her dead father?  Will Cassidy even make it to the starting line much less the finish line?

Dead Running is filled with mishaps as Cassidy a non-runner prepares for a marathon she never planned on entering.  Some of Cassidy's mishaps may scare non-runners from any long distance events!

I was provided a copy of this book by the author for the purpose of this review.


Dying to Run

Two weeks have passed since the St. George Marathon debacle, when the peaceful night is shattered by a gunshot.  Someone is trying to break into her house.  Can Cassidy warn Nana before it is too late?

As the two women try to keep Damon out, Cassidy calls the police.  But Damon escapes before the police make it into the house.  Meanwhile the man sent to protect Cassidy is lying on her floor with a gunshot wound to his chest.

But Damon is not to be thwarted and Cassidy is still in danger.  When Damon manages to elude the police and kidnap Cassidy who will save her from certain death?

Damon is taking her to Ramirez in yet another attempt to capture her father.  When Cassidy learns that the one person she thought she could trust is leading her father into this ambush her heart sinks.  How can she save her father when she is being held on a hidden ranch in a windowless basement with an armed guard just outside the door?

Of the two titles, I preferred Dead Running to Dying to Run, but part of this might be due to the shorter format as Dying to Run was only 66 pages long. But the 66 pages packs a lot of action into these few pages.   I also agree with Nana that Cassidy is a brat! 

I was provided a digital copy of this title for the purpose of this review.


Blog Tour Giveaway!

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Author Cami Checketts

3 Sets of iFrogz Earbuds & Armbands

Ends 1/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 Rafflecopter Entry 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

 

 

Dead Running/Dying to Run Blog Tour with Giveaway

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on December 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (1)

 

 

Interview with Cami Checketts author of 

 

 

 

Dead Running and Dying to Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to tantalize you, before we get to the interview, I've included an excerpt teaser from Dead Running

I inched down another stair, hoping the soft creaks wouldn’t give me away to whoever was arguing in my living room. My dad was visiting me this week, gathering medical supplies for another one of his projects. I’d been gracious and allowed him to host his meetings in my living room. The support from the medical community in our little corner of Northern Utah was actually impressive, but did one of the doctors have to show up in the middle of the night?

I was in that luscious almost-asleep phase when I heard the banging on my front door and crawled out of bed. Irritation turned to fear as I listened to the conversation. The man threatening Dad wasn’t one of his supporters.

“You interfered with the wrong shipment this time.”

Shipment?” Dad asked. “These are human beings, not some profit margin.”

I reached the bottom step and peeked around the wall. My dad stood near the fireplace with a mixture of shock and revulsion on his sunburned face.

Just inside the front door, a man peeked out from the shadow of a hooded sweatshirt. He yanked out a wicked-looking blade. I covered my mouth to stifle the scream....

 

 

 

Thanks to Cami for sending this book excerpt from the first chapter....

 

 

 


 

First off, Cami,  I'd like to thank you for taking the time for this interview about your two exciting books.

 

 

 

1) Running and writing, one is an activity of action and the other of thought, what draws you to them?

 

 

 

If I don't write I feel that empty pang, like I missed attending a dear friend's birthday party. Writing is my happy time and my opportunity to get all the conversations in my head typed into a word doc, so the people in my head will give me a little time to live in the real world. But I am also a creature of motion and cannot stand to sit for more than half an hour at a time (you never want to experience a road trip with me). Because I love to move, I run, and if I run fast enough and hard enough, I can tolerate my writing chair a bit longer.

2) Where did the idea for these books come from?

 

 

 

 

 

I won an entry into the St. George Marathon at a local race. I was thrilled, until the actual training started! I thought it would be fun to write about all the embarrassing things that happen while running and Cassidy was the perfect voice for embarrassing moments. I had a few nightmares with Cassidy out on the road and the suspense angle was thrown into the book.

3) Do you have a favorite character?  Why?

 

 

 

 

 

Definitely Cassidy. She cracks me up. I wish I dared say half the things she does.

4) Do you have a third book planned?

 

 

 

I have promised to write it in January. I've got a lot of it in my head, so hopefully the transition to keyboard will be smooth. The biggest problem is the book is set in central Mexico and I have never been there. Luckily, a very good friend was born and raised in the village I want to set the book. He's going to get extremely sick of me and my questions. I'll have to bake lots of cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for having me on the blog!  ~ Cami

 

 

 

Giveaway Ends 1/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

 

 

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December CSFF Tour ~ Starflower Day 2

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on December 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

DECEMBER CSFF Blog Tour ~ Starflower Day 2Blooming with Books exclusive interview with Starflower author Anne Elisabeth Stengl


First off, Anne Elisabeth, I'd like to thank you for taking time to share a little behind the book information about this delightful series you've created.

1) Tales from Goldstone Woods has such a depth to it. Where did the inspiration for this series come from?


The initial inspiration for this series was simply my love of all things Fairy Tale. I wanted to write a series of inter-connected novels that used classic and familiar fairy tale themes and took them in unexpected directions. My hope then (and now) was to create a series that could be read just one book at a time, but that the more books you read, the bigger the picture created. This is a whole world, after all! A whole world is made up of so many people with so many stories. I couldn't possibly cover everything with one small cast of characters.

But ultimately, my inspiration was and is very simple: I love fairy tales.


2) Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower--each of these books can stand alone, and yet when read together, one can see that they are interwoven. How difficult is it to do this? (For instance in Heartless, when Una gives Leo her ring, and in Veiled Rose, when Leo gives the ring away, and in Heartless, when Una meets Rosie and how the scene is continued in Moonblood and the consequences of this meeting for Rosie and Leo.) These scenes could easily have been in one book and yet you have them run throughout the series.

It is very difficult to do . . . but not as difficult as you might expect! This is simply the way my brain seems to work and process storytelling. I can usually see each scene from multiple characters' points of view. So for me, even if I am telling a particular scene from one point of view, I am very aware of its effect on and importance to the other characters as well.

We are all the heroes of our own stories, after all. Doesn't matter if we're a sidekick, a villain, or a heroine. In our own minds, we're the star. So it is always interesting for me to explore a scene written from one character's point of view and switch to another.

This is also why I like to write using the omniscient narrative. It allows me within each given scene to explore a little bit into everyone's point of view . . . or even no one's, if I so choose!



3) Far World, Near World , and the Between there is a simplicity in these names and yet such depth when one reads these books. What is the story behind these names?

Again, the point here was fairy-tale simplicity. When I read a fairy tale, I am usually struck by how simple the story seems on the surface, and yet how many layers of meaning are waiting to be explored. That's what I wanted to do with the worlds of Goldstone Wood. On the surface, everything is very simple, and very clear. But you only have to scratch the surface before you become aware of so much more going on!

To create this effect, however, I started with very simple names. Nothing too flashy, no made-up words, nothing difficult to pronounce. These worlds need to be immediately accessible to my readers. They have to be able to step through the door in order to explore the complexities beyond
!


4) Prince Aethelbald seems to be the most misunderstood character throughout. Why do the very people who most need him seem to be leery of him?

I think it's because people don't want to need help. They don't want to consider themselves broken, and they certainly don't want to believe that they cannot save themselves! And the more broken a person is, the more he will reject the need to be fixed.

So it is that those who need the Prince of Farthestshore--known as the Lumil Eliasul in Starflower--the most are those who most adamantly resist him. This will become a still more important theme as the series progresses!

5) Do you have a favorite character? If so why this character?

Eanrin, the poet-cat. Easily. I really just adore him! I've been writing about him since I was in high school . . . in fact, he predates even the Prince of Farthestshore as a character featured in my story worlds. He's just so cheeky, and he always has something snarky or witty to say. And yet, he can surprise you at any moment with a heart-felt remark or a truly insightful moment.

In Starflower, it was fun to explore him at the very, very beginning of his service to Farthestshore. By the time of Moonblood, which is set a good 1600 years later, he has experienced so much and grown and changed . . . and yet, he is still a cheeky cat at heart, with at least a veneer of self-importance and arrogance. He is also a deeply wounded character with some difficult, ongoing struggles in his life that will be explored still more as the series progresses.

Eanrin is always exciting to write about. Any scene featuring him is going to be fun. I barely have to work with him anymore. I just sit back and watch him steal the show!


6) Are any of the places in your books based on someplace you have been?

Some. For instance, the Old Bridge in Heartless was loosely based off of a little bridge and nature trail at the university I attended the year before writing Heartless. I used to escape down to that trail and sit on that bridge for hours, just to get away from all the school-related stress and drama of life.

In Veiled Rose, Leo and Rose Red enjoy a childhood summer in the mountains. While I've never spent a summer in the mountains myself, their games and adventures were loosely based on my own childhood in England, playing out on the village common with my brothers. Everything was very epic at that age!

The country of Southlands itself has developed into a more interesting and exciting location with each subsequent book. It is a very exotic land, and in Starflower we get a wonderful sense of its danger. It's also a jungle-type realm, with mango groves and panthers stalking in the shadows. Not at all based on anything I've experienced! But my husband grew up in Sri Lanka, and after I married him, I began tailoring Southlands to be more Sri Lankan in influence. It definitely brings a fresh and exciting flavor to that realm!

Some of the settings you will see later on in book 5, Dragonwitch, are based on childhood memories of living in England and exploring the old castles there.

So, that's a long answer given just to say, yes! I am inspired by my own experiences. But I always try to take them to a new, imaginative extreme.


7) The idea that those the Dragon King desires must first give him their heart is intriguing. Why this a requirement to become a dragon and what does he do with these hearts?

I think that when the individuals hand their hearts over to the Dragon King, they are displaying vulnerability. But there is more that must happen before they can be truly his. For instance, Una did not give the Dragon her heart . . . it was given to him by someone else, making Una his target. It was only when Una, feeling that her lost heart already belonged to the Dragon, gave in to his kiss that she became a dragon herself.

I think the Dragon probably collects the hearts. Una's heart was represented as a lovely opal ring, a treasure. How many of the treasures collected in the Dragon's Hoard might also be hearts? We don't actually know. We saw the chest full of rubies which, as they were picked up and dropped, screamed. Maybe those were the hearts of other lost souls? But it's never clearly stated in any of the books (yet!), so we're left to fill in those imaginative blanks for ourselves.



8) Dreams seem to be an important part of your stories. Is it because in sleep one is more vulnerable that this is how the enemy chooses to lay the foundations of his attack?

Well, I like that reasoning! That sounds very dramatic and symbolic.

But, really, the reason dreams have become such an important part of this series is because, in dreams, everyone experiences the fantastic. Even the most prosaic and unimaginative person has probably dreamed of flying. Or of a dark, stalking presence. Or has relived events of his/her day but with unusual and even sinister twists.

Dreams are fantastic! They are pieces of our own reality that are not quite explainable and never predictable. They take us on dreadful, convoluted, wonderful journeys, all within our own heads!

So dreams have become important in this series. Also, the idea of "dreams" as "desires" has become important, as represented by the Dragon and his alternate name, the Death-of-Dreams. And, of course, his enigmatic sister, the Lady of Dreams Realized.

In a later book, I hope to really delve into the Dream World, and to explore more thoroughly the roles of dreams in these stories. For the moment, we are left mostly with hints . . .

-- Thank you for a particularly fun and challenging interview! These were great questions, and I had to sit down and really think through several of the answers. Very fun!

And I hope all of you readers will find an opportunity to pick up the Tales of Goldstone Wood and enter the magical realms of the Far World and the Near.


Thank you again for taking time for this interview and I look forward to Dragonwitch in the coming year.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

A Special thank-you to author Anne Elisabeth Stengl for offering this special giveaway to the Blooming with Books readers

 

Signed copy of Starflower giveaway. Open to US residents only.

Rafflecopter entry or copy and paste the following:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blooming-with-Books-book-reviews/213374905352048?sk=app_228910107186452


 

Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Links:

My blog: http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/

 Find Me on facebook: Anne Elisabeth Stengl (author)

 Twitter: AnneElisabeth Stengl

  

 

 

 


 

 Book Summary: 

Never Get Involved in the Affairs of Mortals

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps lovely Lady Gleamdren, Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission . . . and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

          But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin finds his path entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her poet rescuer?

 Released: November 1st, 2012 Available online at Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood) from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and CBD.

 

Author Bio: Anne Elisabeth is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style. The series so far includes Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood and Starflower, with Dragonwitch due to release summer of 2013.
Anne Elisabeth is married to the handsome man she met at fencing class and lives with him, a gaggle of cats, and one long-suffering dog in NC. Her first novel, Heartless, won the 2011 Christy Award for Debut Novel and was an INSPY Award finalist. Her second novel, Veiled Rose, won the 2012 Christy Award for Visionary Novel and was a Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year finalist.

Excerpt from Starflower:

 The girl did not stir when Eanrin lifted her into his arms; her sleep was profound indeed. Her head lolled over his arm, and he was obliged to part her thick hair to uncover her face. It was an uncommonly beautiful face for a mortal.

               However, this girl’s beauty was different from any he had ever before seen. For one thing, her skin was rich dark brown, and her hair glossy black. For another, she was imperfect. Her teeth, visible between gently parted lips, were a little crooked. Mud stained her skin, making it darker still, and her brow, even in sleep, was puckered with anxiety or fear. Her dreams must be wicked indeed.

                Eanrin grimaced at the sight and almost put her down again. After all, a princess with dreams like those probably had a tale of woe to match. She would certainly wake with expectations of a handsome hero to aid her. As far as Eanrin was concerned, a dash of heroism was one thing, but commitment to a cause? Never. Rushing off to the rescue of Lady Gleamdren was different, for he had determined that she must be his wife and the sole inspiration to his life’s work. Besides, he loved her.

This creature meant nothing to him.

                 But blood oozed from the abrasions on her wrists. And her body, mortal and vulnerable, lay in his arms. Eanrin rolled his eyes heavenward as though to seek some holy aid. Then he braced himself and wiped the mud off her lips with the edge of his cloak. She frowned in her sleep and stirred, but did not wake.

              “Nothing for it,” he muttered. Closing his eyes and trying not to smell her any more than he must, he leaned in and kissed her . . . 

But you'll have to pick up Starflower to see what happens from there!

Highlights from Margaret Feinberg Interview

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on December 13, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 













You may have heard that Margaret Feinberg, has a new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God releasing on Christmas Day.  I recently received the insider’s scoop about Margaret’s new book. Here are some highlights from that interview:



Where did the inspiration for the Wonderstruck book and Bible study come from?


Have you ever had one of those seasons where everything goes wrong, and when you think

it can’t get worse, it somehow finds a way? Most people who have worked in ministry have

experienced those seasons—some may be in one right now.


My husband, Leif, and I had just gone through one of the roughest years of our lives. In the

aftermath, as we processed the pain and loss, I had an unexplainable desire in my heart. I began

praying for the wonder of God. In essence, I said, “God reveal yourself, your whole self to me.

I want to know you as Wonderful. I want to know you as I’ve never known you before and see

you in places I’ve never recognized you before.”


God did not disappoint.


What do you mean by “the wonder of God”?


Sometimes talking or writing about wonder feels like tying kite strings to clouds. It’s ethereal,

and you can never quite get a grip on it. But if you look in the dictionary, the two main

definitions of wonder are: “being filled with admiration, amazement, or awe” and “to think or

speculate curiously.”


Those definitions come together beautifully in our relationship with God. That’s why I define the

wonder of God as those moments of spiritual awakening that create a desire to know God more.


In other words, the wonder of God isn’t about an emotional experience or having some cool

story to tell your friends, but the wonder of God makes us want more of God—to go deeper and

further than we’ve ever been before.


Why are you calling people to #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK?


If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were

constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the

healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see

words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at every turn. If this is the natural response

to encountering Christ, how much more should it be for you and I—who are invited to

live in relationship with Christ as sons and daughters of our God Most High? We even

created a free PDF that looks at some of these Scriptures. For a free copy, email us at

[email protected] and we’ll send you one.

 

 

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To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video.

Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on TwitterFacebook, or her blog. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff.

If you're like me and want to get a good deal, I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble.

Exclusive interview with Thomas Block author of Captain

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on December 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

First off, Thomas, I'd like to thank you for taking time for this interview, I'm sure you are busy with all you do.

1) With your experience with flying and writing for the aviation market, when did you first decide to write for the public at large and fictionalize your writing?

That came from working with my childhood friend and bestselling novelist Nelson DeMille. But I was actually a ‘professional writer’ before he was, because I was working for FLYING Magazine, doing monthly columns and features, when Nelson returned from the army in the early 70’s. He decided that he wanted to become a novelist, so I began helping Nelson with all his earlier works - which was my first experience of working with novels. Matter of fact, the major plotting and storyline for Nelson DeMille’s big breakthrough novel By the Rivers of Babylon was written by the two of us in a Uhaul truck while taking my furniture to western Pennsylvania after the airline I flew for moved our crew base from New York to Pittsburgh.

In 1978 I was ready to try some of my own fiction and, with Nelson’s help and introductions, I signed a contract to produce my first airplane action/adventure novel Mayday - which went on to be an International bestseller. In 1997, Nelson and I took the out-of-print Mayday, revised and updated it together, then republished the novel with both our names as co- authors. That version became a CBS Movie of the Week in October, 2005, and is still readily available from Nelson DeMille’s extensive backlist.

During the 80’s I wrote five additional novels that had a good run of success throughout the world. For various reasons I didn’t find myself writing any novels through the 90’s, although I did do even more work with Nelson DeMille through that period and well into the new century. With all of my old novels long out of print (excepting Mayday), I realized that with the dawning of this new era of publishing for both print editions and ebooks, that I could go back to those old novels (the rights to those works had since reverted back to me), extensively revise and update them, and then send them back out to see the light of day once again -- now dressed up in their modern-day clothing.  All of these novels were basically airplane-theme action/adventure, although they ran a gamut from hypersonic airlines on through Airships and even a detective story. You can see all of the details of these novels -- which continue to sell nicely and receive good reviews -- at our website at www.ThomasBlockNovels.com.


2) If you had to choose a first love would it be flying or writing? And why would this be your first love?

Tough question, because you love different things to varying degrees at different points in your life. My experiences with airplanes and, in particular, with airliners, was an enormous part of my life for nearly 50 years, but the ‘active’ portion of that part of my life is now behind me. My writing has been a constant for me for an even longer period, and I’ve become more focused on my professional writing as the years have gone by. If the definition of ‘first love’ means the love that literally comes ‘first’, then it was unquestionably flying - but if you are asking which one has meant the most to me, then it’s a toss-up.


3) Of your various titles, which would you say draws the most on your own experiences?

I realized that with the dawning of this new era of publishing for both print editions and ebooks, that I could go to my older novels (the rights to those works had since reverted back to me), extensively revise and update them, and then send them back out to see the light of day once again -- now dressed up in their modern-day clothing, and I could add more personal observations and insights than I had when I wrote them originally. All of those novels were basically airplane-theme action/adventure, although they ran a gamut from hypersonic airlines on through Airships and even a detective story. You can see all of the details of these novels -- which continue to sell nicely and receive good reviews -- at our website at www.ThomasBlockNovels.com.

But in the back of my mind I now had a new story; a story that needed to be told in what some might call an older way, with emphasis on character and plot, motivation and timing. As always, it would be an aviation-theme action/adventure -- but unlike many modern stories, I refused to pump in gratuitous violence, sex and mayhem. To me, so many modern novels (and especially movies!) are hardly more than comic books with storylines that don’t hang together and with endless and brutish snapping from scene to scene as if they expected that the audience had an attention span (and a companion attention to detail) that could only be measured in the smallest portions possible.

So I wrote Captain with a beginning, middle and (what I wanted to become a very satisfying) ending. It is a story about what happens to the crew and passengers on a particular flight from Rome, Italy to New York when unthinkable things begin to happen to their airliner. It is full of characters that readers have told me that they loved -- and also loved to hate. It is an action/adventure tale with a backdrop of real emotions. It is a novel that slowly moves from scene to scene -- but at a fast pace. Is that sort of mix possible? Look at the movies Casablanca and Dances With Wolves, or the novel Lonesome Dove. That’s what I was trying to do with Captain, and a number of reviewers and general readers have told me that, to them, Captain is a powerhouse of emotions while it is simultaneously packed with a very high level of action, intrigue and adventure. From the standpoint of my own experiences, Captain has drawn on them the most.

4) Do you have a favorite title among your books or are you the like the perfect parent and they are all your favorites?

While they are all ‘action/adventure’ novels that have an aviation theme to them, they are all quite different. For example, Forced Landing is a bigger-than-life story (like a James Bond or Star Wars) with an aircraft carrier, a submarine, a hijacked airliner, and packed with lots of suitable characters and action. Open Skies is my only first-person novel, and it is told through the eyes of a former airline pilot who is now a private investigator and has been hired by an airline to check out some recent events. Captain, of course, is my most recent novel and - to quote the jacket copy - my ‘most ambitious, intricate and action-packed aviation tale yet’. Like a perfect parent would say, I love all my kids and they’re all measurably different from each other.

5) The Prologue of Captain definitely draws one immediately into intense and agonizing action, have you ever experienced a similar situation where you had take off in a dangerous situation?

Well, certainly not to the degree we see in Captain! That’s one of the nicest parts of being able to write an action/adventure novel - you can defy death on a regular basis while doing it in perfect safety.

6) What is your favorite genre of book and how do your favorite authors compare to your writing style? (Bragging is okay!)

I like action/adventure and plot oriented fiction. While it is an argument that goes back to when novel writing and storytelling first began, from my point of view it is plot that determines character. Others (including my great friend Nelson DeMille) say it exactly the other way. I like to get a situation (storyline) going, and then see how the characters will be affected by it and how they’ll handle it. Captain is very much along those lines, as are all of my other novels. Naturally, I’m automatically drawn to other novelists who have slanted a particular storyline in the same manner that I would have, although I do have to say that I can readily appreciate a really good example of most any approach to the art and craft of writing and storytelling.

7) As a writer is there a question that you wish someone would ask you about your writing but never has? What would this question be and how would you answer this unasked question?

While I can’t say ‘never’, a great question that I’m very seldom asked is what was my favorite part of the novel to write. For Captain (and, actually, all of my novels) there were a number of little ‘scenes’ in my head that just had to occur, and whenever I was approaching one of them I was really buoyed up about getting to it and through it. Sometimes they were entire sections (in Captain, such as when Lee and Tina were sitting down to talk), and other times it was just a quick line or a character impression (such as the Captain Jack scene toward the end of the book). It’s those fun times that more than keeps you going and motivated to keep pressing on, and it’s great to be able to share that experience with the readers.

Thomas, again thank you for your time and enjoy your upcoming Florida winter!

Cloud Culture ~ Blog Tour with Giveaway

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on November 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

  

 Cloud Culture

Walking the Walk and Typing the Talk:

Christian Living in the Social Media World

By Chuck Giacinto and Bryce Conlan

You are what you Tweet....

Your social presence is an extension of you.  What you communicate is you.  Do you present yourself differently socially than in face-to-face encounters?  We need to stop and take a look at who we are in all aspects of our lives.

Who are you?  Would your friends and followers know you if they met you in person or do you hide behind your screen-name?

Cloud Culture takes a look at this new frontier that we are exploring and the risks that are involved as we are increasingly drawn into this world.  This is a social world that allows us to instantly reach around the globe and speak our mind.  What do you consider worthy of announcing to the world?  Think about it.  What do you post, tweet, or pin?  Is it your latest shopping trip?  Or is it something that has profoundly touched your life and could do the same for someone else?

Our words can change the world for better or worse.  Are you prepared to follow in Jesus' steps and reach out to people in grace and love?  We need to live what we believe, when we fight amongst ourselves we tear  down our own witness. 

We must relate to people in a personal way and not be an isolated island among the ever shifting social sea.  When God created us, He said we are not meant to be alone.  By connecting in this digital social world we have become more alone than in any other time in our history.  Our world has become smaller and we have instant access to anyone with the internet but we don't truly know the person living next door or sitting next to us at work. 

We must turn this disconnect around and use this gift to help others as Jesus would.  He would not gather hundreds (or thousands) of people around Him and announce the great deal He had just gotten at the local Walmart on a candy bar or a pair of shoes.  Jesus told us to go out into the world and to share His good news of salvation and a Social platform enables us to go throughout the world and share the Gospel without leaving our home or country.

Cloud Culture is a unique look at the blessings and dangers associated with our new social world.  There are valuable insights that will help any user of social media. 

I was provided a copy of this book for the purpose of this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Cloud Culture giveaway
Want to learn more?  Check-out the excerpt and interview below.
What are your thoughts?
Post a comment with your email in the following format
bloomingwithbooks (at) gmail (dot) com
to be entered.
Entry period runs November 30th - December 7th.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Excerpts taken from Chapter 4 - Power of the Key

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By the Lockman Foundation

  Taken from Cloud Culture, Copyright 2012, by Chuck Giacinto and Bryce Conlan. 

Published by Seven Leaf Press, Chicago, IL. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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                                                       Q and A session with 

Chuck Giacinto and Bryce Conlan


 


So, what is Cloud Culture about? 
Cloud Culture is about social media, but I don’t want that to scare anybody off because this isn’t a techie, computer-oriented book at all. We feel that social media, at its core, is about two things: communication and relationship. We believe God designed us with a need to know others and to be known by others and Cloud Culture, while it addresses current social sites, is really about how to develop deep personal relationships in this new and evolving landscape, and, ultimately, where our faith fits into that.

Why now?
Well, we feel this book could come out next year or five years from now, and still be relevant in terms of its concepts, regardless of how the landscape of social media changes. But because of the void there has been regarding a real conversation in the Church about social media, along with the approach we wanted to take, we felt a sense of urgency to be on the front end of this conversation.

Who did you have in mind when you wrote Cloud Culture?
We wrote this in a way that multiple sets of people will benefit. Our youth have grown up with social media and they know no other way. This will help them get a foundation of understanding what the Bible says about the power of their words. Also, parents need this because they often feel ill-equipped regarding social media. They’re just trying to stay afloat themselves with all of the changing technologies, not to mention parenting their kids through it. That’s where Cloud Culture comes in. And last, it’s for those in the ministry. We want pastors and youth pastors to feel well equipped to speak and function confidently in this new landscape that NEEDS to be pastured. They’re just trying to keep up as well with it all, and their congregants need guidance. This is where we want to help. And we feel the book will serve those in ministry well. But to date, we have gotten tons of positive feedback from people who don’t fit any of those profiles. So we've realized that if you’re a Christian and you’re involved in social media, no matter how directly or indirectly, then you will benefit from reading Cloud Culture.

Chuck, you are a worship pastor and producer. And Bryce, you own a media production company. What’s your experience with social media?

(Chuck) My experience initially is like that of many of your readers. I’m a parent. And I use social media personally, and I text. But yes, I’m also in ministry and handle much of the online media for our church. So, the majority of my use is not that different from your readers. This book came out of my/our everyday uses of social media and texting…from the most mundane parts of our life to the most important…and seeing this tremendous void in dialog in the Church regarding our place as Christians in social media…and what’s possible with it! Because Bryce and I are not computer geniuses or experts, we've come at this from a non-tech place, but hopefully in a way that every reader can really relate with and benefit from.

(Bryce) As a media professional, my company would often get hired to create commercials and viral videos for companies looking to keep up with consumers’ expectations from a website. So we’d make the video and deliver it to the client only to get an email back saying, “I love it, now what do I do with it?” So I started looking into ways that I could help them use social media to power their businesses and was shocked when I realized how much influence one person could have through social media. It really changed the way that I approached social media.

I’m sometimes truly surprised at what people post on Facebook—even fellow Christians. What should a Christian consider before posting a blog, a tweet, or a Facebook status update?

Always consider your audience. One of the marks of a Christian life is self-control and that means that sometimes we don’t say that thing we want to say for the benefit of others. This can be wildly difficult, and we discuss it at length in Cloud Culture. It’s so important. Another thing to consider is context. Many of the problems, disagreements and offenses via social media or texting come out of our abbreviated new sentence structure and the loss of context for the reader can be painful. So we really need to take a second and reread our postings. Taking a few extra seconds and using a few extra words for example could bring a lot of clarity to the recipients of your post.

You talk about Christians being ambassadors of Christ. How does that look on a practical level in the social media world?

(Chuck) It looks much the same as in our real lives because that’s what people are watching unfold on social media--our lives. I’ve been married for 21 years, and if there was no trace of my relationship with my wife in my social media, well, that would speak to some real issues. So, how can we conduct ourselves daily in social media and have our relationship with God nowhere to be found? And not forced or fake, or out of a sense of duty, but a natural reflection of the place the relationship holds in our lives.

What do you say to those who feel that social media—especially sites like Facebook and Twitter—are simply idle chatter, gossip sites, or at the most, entertainment?

It is all of those things. It is also what we choose to make it. Those shallower aspects will always be an overwhelming part of social media. The question for us is, “What is MY contribution to social media, and what does God want to accomplish through ME in the lives of those I’m connected to?”

Do you believe there is a higher purpose for social media than what most people use it for?

Sure. It can be an escape, entertainment, a habit or in some extreme cases even an addiction, but I believe that based on the number of times daily the average person checks their Facebook, texts, etc., it seems like the obvious opportunity to connect with people on a personal and intimate level. And it may seem strange to think of social media in this way. It’s something that we call “reading between the lines.” To go beyond the words and posts and see what people are really saying, and use it as a touch point where we can really connect. That’s what Jesus did.

Facebook just hit the 1 billion user mark, with about 75 percent coming from outside the United States. How does this impact a Christian?

It’s so exciting to think of the possibilities that exist for the Christian today. Just recently a church planter in India reached out to me (Bryce), and now regularly updates me with testimony of the amazing things God is doing in India. I’m also connected with a pastor in Pakistan - a place where Christianity is quite unwelcome - and keeps me updated with their needs and what people can be praying about on their behalf. To take it one step further, we literally, for the first time in history, can have an influence on the believer and unbeliever alike all over the world without ever leaving your home.   

What are some practical ways to reach people through social media without simply just posting daily Bible verses?

One thing we can do is work at fostering real relationships within our networks. Another thing is to reach out with a private message when we can see that someone is struggling. There are other ways too - less public ways. For example, what if everyone reading this today looked at their Facebook friends list or Twitter followers, then picked one person and prayed for them today, and did the same tomorrow. It’s a quiet act, and maybe no one would know, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it’s a remarkably powerful. Imagine if we could get thousands or perhaps millions to do this on a daily basis.

So, what is worth sharing online?

If it’s worth something to you then it’s worth sharing because it is about relationships and there is an entertainment factor to social media. And there’s nothing wrong with that. From the lightest moments to the most important, it’s all part of sharing our lives with those around us. At the heart of posting or texting as a Christian is this, “Will my words encourage and build up? Will this create community? Intimacy? Am I pointing people to Christ? Am I visibly demonstrating the face of Christianity that I should?” If so, post it! And there’s nothing wrong with posting the scores from last night’s game either.

Do you find that people are lonelier now than ever...even with all their Facebook “friends” or Twitter followers?

Yes - and we think science is beginning to support that notion. TIME magazine and Newsweek have both recently run fascinating articles on the subject. It’s a paradoxical situation that we find ourselves in. On the one hand we’re more connected and integrated into each other’s lives than ever before. On the other hand, people are feeling more isolated than ever - and confused as to why. In Cloud Culture we refer to this as the human element. When God created us His second observation of Adam is, “It’s not good that man should be alone”, and yet many of us live in a reality with limited face-to-face, eye-to-eye interaction. And that can lead to very serious depression.

People seem to announce everything on their social media accounts whether appropriate or not. When are of the times when social media shouldn't be used?

In my opinion, if it’s truly important…don’t text! We know texting and driving is dangerous, but texting out of emotion can be dangerous too. More on the social media side, I’ll give you an example I've seen multiple times. In a case of tragedy or a person’s passing, I've seen comments, postings, even heartfelt condolences on social media before extended family or close friends have even had time to be properly notified…and that’s how they receive the news. There needs to be SOME level of restraint and protocol, but nobody’s ever really addressed it. As Christians, we could be the ones to set some standards. Look, when two Christians disagree or argue back and forth about something or someone, or scripture or church on Facebook, they often carry on as though it is just them having the conversation. But the reality is that if one person has 400 friends and the other has 300 friends, then they have an audience of 700 watching this play out. And we may not have any idea how many lives are being affected, or how their view of the Church…and God… is being shaped by such posts.

In Cloud Culture, you write, “It’s a true sign of maturity and Christian character when you can restrain yourself from leaving remarks that will only fuel the online conversations which are neither edifying nor productive.” How does a Christian handle this type of temptation?

You know, it’s not easy. There are certainly things worth defending. But it does require some discernment. It’s easy enough to misinterpret each other speaking face to face. But when typed or texted, and we abbreviate and condense our thoughts, there is again a real loss of context, which makes it very difficult to communicate well this way. Sometimes the most constructive thing we can do is to choose a different path. Pick up the phone and talk, or speak face to face. There’s an amazing amount of healing that takes place when someone takes the time to call and resolve the issue personally rather than the quick text message of tweet. Sometimes skipping the new convenient route for the old fashioned one is the wisest choice.

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem

Posted by bloomingwithbooks on November 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem

By Melissa Lemon

In the Kingdom of Mayhem an evil Queen rules the land. Queen Radiance of Mayhem is so evil she determines to kill her newborn daughter just because her husband loves her.  King Fredrick after hearing of the Queen's deadly plot against both his daughter and himself steals away during the night into the Fluttering Forest. Before he can escape into the Kingdom of Mischief, Fredrick is tracked by the Queen's executioner. Desperate to save his daughter, Fredrick hides her with his Uncle Barney before he is murdered.

Princess Katiyana, whose name means Snow, was placed under a protective spell if danger should ever find her.  As Kat grew under her uncle's loving care, she began helping him in his orchard. But as much as she pleaded to be allowed to go to market each fall, her uncle was adamant that Kat stay home because of the danger. But when Kat is 11 years old her uncle becomes blind, so he hires a boy to help Kat in the orchard and to go to market. Barney tells Kat she can't leave the orchard because it is too dangerous and that he has hidden her existence away from all that know him.

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Simkins helps Kat and as the years pass the two grow to become friends. But Uncle Barney turns to drink and becomes angry and even cruel to his niece. One day Kat accidentally burns a loaf of bread and Barney erupts at her and hits her.  When Jeremy tries to defend her he is fired by Barney. Jeremy begs Kat to let him continue to help her but Kat refuses as she is unable to pay him.

 

 

 

 

Later Jeremy returns and tells Kat he loves her and wants her to be safe, so he gives her his six years of wages and tells her to leave her Uncle Barney. He tells her she must go to the market and a friend of his will help her. He tells her that he will find her when he returns from a task that needs to be done.

 

 

 

 

The next morning when Barney again loses his temper and hits her, Kat leaves and goes to Mischief.  But the man that Jeremy told her of seems cruel auctioning off a small man and whipping him. Kat buys the small man with some of the money that Jeremy had given her. When she tells her slave that she doesn't have any work for him or a place to call home, her newly acquired slave, Kurz takes her into the Fluttering Forest to his home. When the seven dwarves hear that she is waitng for a Simkins they allow her into their home because simply knowing a Simkins is to be wronged by one in their opinion.

 

 

 

 

The years have passes without Queen Radiance knowing that her only daughter still lives. But when she learns that she still lives Queen Radiance dispatches Trevor Blevkey to]bring about her daughter's death.  But almost as soon as this new danger heads towards Mischief, the spell that was placed upon Kat all those years ago, makes itself known.  

 

 

 

But is a spell cast from within a magic mirror enough to keep the Princess of Mayhem alive or will the mother that she never knew destroy her?  Will Jeremy find Kat before Trevor does?

 

 

 

If you read Melissa's previous twisted around fairy tale Cinder and Ella you know you are in for a treat with Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem!  This newest work is just as delightful and is filled with unexpected twists and moments of profound sadness and equally profound moments of joy.

 

 

 

I was provided a digital loan of an ARC of this title by the publisher for the purpose of this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

 


 

 

 

 

 

~ Interview with Author Melissa Lemon ~

 


1) When creating you're re-created Fairy Tales how do you determine what to change from the original? 

 

 

 

Not a lot of planning goes into this part of it. The re-creations begin with a simple idea and maybe a few characters. From there I just let it go wild. Often I just see where the plot takes me. If I like it, I keep it. If I hate it, I throw it out. Doing this keeps me at a bit of a distance from the original story lines which I like. 

2) Cinder and Ella and Snow Whyte definitely play on the name of the original main character, where does your inspiration for these unique names come from? 

 

 

 

Cinder and Ella came from the characters since I had them in place before the title. Snow Whyte took some tweaking. I originally wanted the book to be called "White as the Driven Snow" or "White as Snow." After bouncing around a few ideas with my publisher,Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem was the final decision. I love that Whyte ended up spelled differently, which wasn't planned in the beginning. The book focuses a lot on names, some of them foreign, so spelling it differently fit well. Now I can't imagine it any other way.

3) In both Cinder and Ella and Snow Whyte the mothers are anything but loving and nurturing. Why did you do away with the step-mother and instead have the birth mother in this role, unlike the original versions? 

 

 

 

Two reasons: 1)The step-mother is so overdone. Poor stepmothers. I'm sure they're not ALL bad. 2) Sometimes real moms cause problems, too. 

4) What is your favorite scene in Snow Whyte

 

 

 

When Jasper is set free. I really got connected with this character, and couldn't help feel sorry that my plot had him locked in a prison for almost 20 years. I felt overjoyed to finally see him see the light of day. Another favorite scene is where Jeremy leaves Kat on the orchard. This scene was a dream I had and is where the idea for the whole book came from. It played out so vividly in my head that I knew it had to be used in a book. I can still see how much he loves her!

5) Who is your favorite character in Snow Whyte?

I can't pick just one. I love the main character, Katiyana. She grew so much in this story and I think that reflected a little of what is happening in my own life and in the ways I have been changing over the last year. I also really love Jasper as mentioned before. I have to include Jeremy Simkins and the seven dwarfs as well. I am particularly fond of Kurz. He's probably my favorite dwarf. I love how he is a surrogate father to Katiyana.

6) Are any characters, scenes, or settings based on your own life? 

 

 

 

Nope. But would I really tell you if they were? ;) I do wish I lived on Barney's orchard, crooked house and all.

7) What is your favorite part of writing? 

 

 

 

Using my imagination to create something so big. It's mind boggling at times. I get so much out of writing stories. Using that creativity that bubbles inside of me is fun, therapeutic, energizing, calming, and so many other things.

Thanks for your time and the added insight into the writer behind Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem

 

 

 

Many thanks to you for hosting! Happy Thanksgiving!


 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Giveaway ~

 

 

 

Chance to win an ebook of this title.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Rules are as follows:

 

 

 

From November 22nd - November 28th, 2012

 

 

 

1) Like Melissa on Facebook

 

 

 

2) Like Blooming with Books on Facebook or follow on Twitter

 

 

 

3) Post a comment on this post and mention that you did the above with your 

 

 

 

Facebook name and/or Twitter handle 

 

 

 

and include your email in this format bloomingwithbooks (at) gmail (dot) com

 

 

 


 

 

 

Follow all 3 of the above steps and you will be entered into the giveaway.

 

 

 


 

 

 

If you win you will be notified after ensuring that you did all 3 requirements and

 

 

 

your email address will be passed onto the publisher Cedar Fort for the purpose 

 

 

 

of sending you your ebook of Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 


 

 

 

Giveaway is open worldwide

 

 

 

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~ Check out author Melissa Lemon on the web ~

 

http://www.authormelissalemon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authormelissalemon

https://www.amazon.com/author/melissalemon.com

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 



 

 

Nov. 12 So Simply Sara

 

 

 

 

 

Nov. 14 Book Adventures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov. 17 Loves 2 Read  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov. 23 Geo Librarian

 

 

 

Nov. 25 Ren's Rambles 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov. 27 MK McClintock