The Old, the New and the End of 2019

Merry Christmas!!!

I can hardly believe Christmas is less than two weeks away! 2019 has been a tumultuous year for me. There have been equal amounts of tears and laughter this year, along with periods of grief and anger that made me wish to the heavens 2019 would come to a hasty conclusion so I could start fresh in 2020. That being said, I am sorry I have been so silent this year! I am hoping to blog a lot more in 2020 (I know, I know, I say that every year but hopefully this time it will actually happen!).

For now, I hope you will join me in looking back over my 2019 year!

Early in the year, I received a wonderful and overwhelming gift. My sweet, loving Me & MaMagrandmother made it possible for me to attend my 2nd ACFW conference. Shortly thereafter, this wonderful woman who I loved with all my heart passed away. I cannot even begin to describe what it was like, waiting for months after she passed to attend the conference, knowing I would not have been able to go this year if not for her.

Then, something beautiful happened. ACFW (America Christian Fiction Writers) often has a worship period during the meals they provide for the attendees. On the first night of the conference during the welcome dinner, we all stood up to sing during the worship. Standing next to me at the table to my left was a sweet older lady who kept glancing my way. Then, without a word, she reached across the space between me and put her arm around me.

Everyone–I kid you not–she was wearing my grandmother’s perfume. I nearly broke down in tears right then and there. Until that moment, I’d had a lot of trouble grieving for my grandmother. I have always been the type to grieve in private, but even that had been difficult for me this year. I thanked God over and over for that moment, because when that lady (who had no idea who I was or what I was going through) put her arm around me it was like my MaMa was giving me a hug! Finally, I allowed myself to grieve and I was so relieved.

This year, I suffered another loss. A friend who I hadn’t seen in a few years died tragically. I felt numb when I heard the news, because he was one of those friends you always think you’re going to see again someday, even though there are so many miles between you now. This added to the grief that made me want 2019 to come to a quick end. I miss him very much and hope he is at peace now.

This year, with as much grief as there was, there was also joy. I had another book release in June! Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) is now available to order on Amazon! I am so excited this book is available now, but also sad. Because this means I COF - 1have only one more book to tackle in this series before I officially close out my fantasy series and will no longer visit the land of Nfaros. I am hard at work writing Winter’s Light, the fourth and final book of my fantasy series. I’ve hit a few snags so far, trying to bring every character’s plot to an end in a satisfying way without leaving behind too many holes in the storyline.

Considering these books are made up of SO MANY characters, this is harder than you might at first think! I need to keep the story interesting while also tying up any loose ends from the previous books while ALSO creating intense situations for some new characters that were introduced in Crown of Flames. All the same, I am enjoying writing Winter’s Light and hope that, if I finish within the next two months, I will have a release date along with a cover to share with you soon!

Now I’m going to do some major self-promoting … 😉

That being said, have you had a chance to catch up on the first three books of The Winter WQ SERIES INSTAGRAMQueen Series? No? Why wait?

Catch up by reading Winter Queen (The Winter Queen Series, #1), Dance of Shadows (The Winter Queen Series, #2) Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) now! Want them the easy way? All three are available together on Amazon Kindle for $13.47!

Travel to the beautiful land of Nfaros and catch up with the fierce Sundragon sisters as they fight to regain their father’s throne. Journey with the courageous Jandry siblings across treacherous lands. And fly with the People of the Dragon over the Nfaros Sea in the first three books of my series and be prepared for Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen Series, #4)!

In September, as I mentioned above, I attended the ACFW conference, and what an experience it was! I was able to connect with some wonderful people AND I heard Frank Peretti speak! Along with his keynote address, I attended several amazing workshops and learned so much.

I was also able to connect with the lovely Laurie Lucking who was nominated for a Carol Me & LaurieAward for her novel, Common! I was so excited to meet Laurie because she has supported my fantasy series from Book 1 and has written beautiful endorsements for all three of the books for me.

She is such a lovely person and an incredible author! If you haven’t read her book, Common, then I highly recommend it! I am a lover of love stories, and this one was a great one! Not to mention it fell in the Young Adult/Speculative category, which I also love! As I say in my tagline: when it comes to genre, there are no limits. And I mean that in both writing and reading!

I met so many wonderful people at the conference this year and reconnected with some of my favorite people as well. I was especially excited to attend author Pepper Basham’s workshop! Pepper is one of my favorite authors and such a sweet person. She also endorsed my debut novel, The Lost Generation: A Novel of World War I, so when I had the chance to meet her at my first conference in 2017, I didn’t hesitate.

Speaking of The Lost Generation, have I mentioned the paperback is available on26536218 Amazon for $9.99? If you love historical fiction, then grab your copy now!

And speaking of historical fiction …

I did something else new this year. I wrote a World War II era novel. I finished it at a whopping 92,048 words and 350 (Microsoft Word) pages! It is currently titled The Good German Girl and I am so excited about it! I have stepped away from it for now because writing it was emotionally draining, but am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this novel.

I rediscovered my love for Historical Fiction while writing The Good German Girl and realized I wanted this genre to be my primary genre. That being said, The Good German Girl inspired several other World War II era stories that I have made a part of a series tentatively titled A League of Extraordinary Women Series.

NaNoWriMo WinnerThis led me to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time! And … I won! I wrote 51,346 words in November, beating my goal of 50,000 for the next book in my World War II era series in the month of November! What a satisfying feeling it was too, as I hadn’t written that many words in a single month in a while. I was very proud of myself and still am.

I loved participating in NaNoWrimo! I received so much support as I struggled through to achieve that very large word goal. I wrote even on days I didn’t want to write, and kept writing even when I felt like what I was writing was absolutely awful. As a writer, that’s very hard to do because I want everything about my story to be perfect. So when it’s imperfect, it’s hard to not simply stop and walk away for the rest of the day. NaNoWrimo pushed me to set a goal and stick to it and at the end, I was so very pleased.

Oh, and did you notice? I became a redhead this year! That’s right, I made the transition from brunette, to blonde, to redhead! And, may I say, this is my favorite color so far. Could it be? Have I finally made a permanent decision about my hair? Will I remain a redhead to the end of my days? You’ll just have to keep checking in on my blog to find out, I guess. 😉

Well, I think that’s all for now, folks. Thank you for stopping by and reading this incredibly long post.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I’ll see you in 2020.

My Thoughts on Avengers: Endgame …

I don’t usually make a huge deal out of how much I love the Marvel films. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Black Widow … I think maybe I’ve posted one thing here and there on my Facebook. The most recent posts having come from just seeing the latest film, Avengers: Endgame. But rest assured, I am a HUGE fan of these films, and (like I tend to do way too much) I am also deeply invested in the characters.

Therefore, I’m about to go Marvel geek on everyone. I blame this on my being a writer who thinks of every possible scenario before I actually see a film. I attempt to work out every way a story could go, leading up to an absolutely epic ending (because we all knew Avengers: Endgame HAD to have an epic ending).

So, before I begin this post, be forewarned there are major spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen Endgame (which I can’t imagine there’s anyone who’s a major fan out there who hasn’t yet), don’t read on. If you haven’t seen it and don’t care about spoilers, then please, do continue. 😉

Please keep in mind these are my thoughts purely as a viewer of the films. I have never read the comics and do not know what they did or did not change. These are my observations of the films one by one as they were released without any knowledge of how the comics played out.

I am going to talk about the very big thing that happened at the end of Endgame. At least, this was huge for me. Yes, my friends, this post is about Tony Stark. How could it not be? I am now going to put something to you that may or may not be true, but that I couldn’t help thinking about in the days following seeing the last Avengers movie (again, my writer’s mind at work here).

After I walked away from the theater, it occurred to me that while I didn’t see Tony’s death coming at the end, I should have. I realized, the Marvel films may have been preparing us for Tony’s death all along. Let’s look back on how many times Tony Stark cheated death.

In Iron Man (2008), before he even became a beloved super hero, he was fatally wounded and, by all accounts, should’ve died. Yet somehow, he ended up a prisoner with a man who planted a device in his chest to keep the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. What are the odds?

In Iron Man 2 (2010), we discover that the device created in the first film to save him, is now actually killing him. He should die by the end of the film, leaving us with no Tony Stark and completely heartbroken. But then, when there seems to be no hope of saving our favorite hero (or my favorite hero, depending on who yours is), boom! Tony discovers the key to his survival was right in front of him all along. He invents a new device and lives.

In The Avengers (2012), Tony comes together with a team of our heroes to defend New York City when Thor’s brother, Loki, attacks. In a last effort to save the city and all the innocent people still there, he flies a missile INTO SPACE and JUST makes it back through the portal before it closes. Even then, he appears quite dead when Hulk puts him on the ground after catching him, reviving only after a few heart-stopping moments and, in typical Tony fashion, then suggests they should all go to a Shawarma restaurant.

In Iron Man 3 (2013), Tony deals with some major PTSD from the events in The Avengers (2012). His fear of losing Pepper completely outweighs any fears he has for himself, leading him into even more dangerous waters. Tony does reveal in this film that he will do ANYTHING for the people he loves, bringing our hero to an ultimate character arc. There were a few moments in this film when I really believed this would be the end of our hero, but lo and behold he lives! This gave me the illusion that he would survive everything yet to come.

In Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Tony battles Thanos on a planet far, far from home. He gets the crap beat out of him by our villain and definitely loses this fight. Thanos is completely prepared to kill him, until Doctor Strange steps in, trading the Time Stone for Tony’s life. And of course (SPOILER) …

We now know this is because Strange had seen the ONE in FOURTEEN MILLION that they win this fight and it required Tony to die.

There were TWO more things that should’ve warned us Tony’s death was coming. The first one was Pepper’s presence at the battle. Come on. How many times has Pepper stepped up to fight with the Avengers? Um … never. So why would Doctor Strange bring her through one of his portals for the final battle against Thanos? Why would he think to himself, “I better go get Pepper Potts!”? Well, of course, because he knew Tony would need her at the end. At the time, this didn’t occur to me. I didn’t really think much of her appearance, or of how they made a point to let us know she was there.

The last warning came right before he died in Avengers: Endgame (2019). When Doctor Strange returns from the dead and Tony asks him if this is the ONE where they win, Doctor Strange looks at him pointedly and says,

“If I tell you, then it won’t happen.” (Not sure if that is the exact quote, but close enough ;)).

This should’ve been a BIG implication for us. But it wasn’t for me. Maybe because I really, really, REALLY didn’t want Tony Stark to die.

Everything depended on Tony taking those stones to save the world, which would certainly cost him his life. If he knew about it ahead of time, he would’ve been going over and over in his mind the different ways he possibly could manage to save the world and survive, for Pepper and Morgan’s sake. This would’ve probably made him hesitate when he needed to act, which would’ve cost the world EVERYTHING. Not knowing meant he had to make a split second decision to save the world, which he did. Because that was always who Tony was.

If he had time to think about things, he often made mistakes. Like in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). While Vision became an ally (the good thing that came out of this movie), creating Ultron, on the other hand, was a huge mistake and caused our heroes a lot of problems. But when Tony would simply be impulsive, acting on what was in his heart not his head, things always seemed to work out well (for the most part).

Watching and re-watching these movies has made me wonder if the writers intentionally weaved Tony’s destiny into the films, or if it simply came together that way by the end. Or maybe I’d just like to think this was all planned out from the beginning, giving viewers something to think about when they go back to watch the movies again. I just found it interesting that Tony survived so many things he shouldn’t have, only to make the ultimate sacrifice at the very end.

Well, not only … BECAUSE he HAD to make the ultimate sacrifice at the end. That’s why Doctor Strange willingly gave up the Time Stone. Because it wasn’t like someone else could’ve stepped in to do it. It HAD to be Tony.

So if you tie in all the other movies where Tony almost dies, but then didn’t, you can kind of put yourself in the mindset that it was because of THIS. This final act.

There. I’m done now. My two cents (or twenty) on the page. Funny, I realized I wouldn’t be able to let this go until I got it down in writing. This has always been the best way I can express myself. I mean writing is, after all, what I do. 😉

Cover Reveal, Endorsements, & Reviews!

Good Morning everyone!

I am so happy to announce I finally finished Book 3 of The Winter Queen Series! This was, perhaps, the hardest one I wrote so far. I was so certain I would be finished with it before the end of 2018, only to discover my characters had their own plans. New faces popping up and unexpected plot twists held me back from finishing when and where I thought I would. Then, the moment I finally wrote the last sentence, I was overcome with exhaustion and relief! Until I remembered now the editing had to start … 😉

But even with the long road of editing in my future, I am very happy with where this story is going. I had such a clear picture in my mind of how this ongoing tale would begin and how it would end. But the middle had always been a bit fuzzy for me. Now that I’ve battled through the in-between (books 2 and 3, respectively), I am looking forward to starting the finale! Book 4, Winter’s Light, has begun!

I am now excited to reveal the cover of Crown of Flames to you! Along with a little blurb to get you excited to read. 🙂

 

COF - 1The Almaër Dominÿe has risen from the flames …

Damari Kael has been transformed into the Almaër Dominÿe, as was foretold. But with this title, comes the responsibility of a people Damari knows nothing about. She knows only that their country is under attack, and she must go to war against those she once called family.

Clea Jandry has invoked a birthright she did not know belonged to her. In search of the Summer Flower to strengthen her weakening magic, Clea finds herself tested by a king long thought dead.

Far away, in the heart of Sunkai, Gelsey Malaki of the Night Wood attempts to hold the throne against a mounting evil. But Raphaela Kael’s power has increased since she left the Mother City for Kaldon, awakening a darkness which covers all the land in the evil of the Abyss.

In the north, Adlae Sundragon has received a message from the shadows. She now knows her fate and must act. Yet even as loyal men and women gather from across Nfaros to her side, she feels the Abyss growing stronger. Only in the Circle of the Sundragon—only within the crown of flames her family created—will Adlae find the answers to destroy the darkness.

Add Crown of Flames to your Goodreads list HERE.

This is one of my favorite covers so far! I was so pleased with how it came out, and struggled so much holding back from revealing it until now! I hope you find it just as captivating as I do.

I’m also excited to announce we already have a release date! Crown of Flames will release on June 7th 2019!!! Commit to memory and be sure to look for it!

Now, I have a request! In the past, I’ve always waited until the last minute to make this request, scrambling so close to my release date for assistance. So I thought I’d ask in advance this time around.

To all Authors: I need endorsements! I understand this is the third book of a series, and perhaps you are afraid of being totally lost if you haven’t read the first two books. As the author, I can tell you that there are certain themes in the novel that might warrant explanation from the previous two books. However, Crown of Flames stands pretty well on its own in my opinion and I hope, even if you haven’t read 1 & 2, that you will consider contacting me about writing an endorsement! Remember, release date is June 7th, so there’s lots of time to read! You can find me on Facebook and private message me, or contact me here through my blog. 🙂

To all Readers: I need reviews! If you’ve read books 1 & 2, please consider leaving a review for me on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other social media site where my books appear. But I’d also like to have two or three advance reviews online for Crown of Flames. My book probably won’t appear on Amazon very long before the release date, however if you could have a review ready that would be amazing! And it’s already up on Goodreads, so a review there would be great too.

Everyone, please keep in mind the advanced copy of Crown of Flames you receive will only be partially edited. If you could overlook any errors, that would be greatly appreciated as Book 3 is still being worked on by me and my editor.

Thank you all for your consideration and for stopping by my blog today! I hope you’re as excited about Crown of Flames as I am and I look forward to sharing more about the book as we move closer and closer to the release!

A New Journey Begins …

It’s the most wonderful time of the year …

FBPost4Christmas is coming, it’s marvelously cold outside, and I have been crazy busy with my book! Crown of Flames, book 3 of my fantasy series, is just about halfway done and my plan to finish it by the end of the year has me glued to my laptop in an attempt to write, write, write until it’s done! Whether or not I’m able to finish by December 31st, I must say I am so happy with the way the book is going. Dance of Shadows was a bit easier to write, but despite the struggle with book 3, continuing the story of the Sundragon sisters has been a true joy.

I am so looking forward to sharing some book reviews with you soon. Keep your eyes open for my review of T.E. Bradford’s novel, Child of Prophecy, coming very soon. Book Reviews Coming Soon!In the coming year, I am going to try to keep up more with my book reviews, so you should be seeing my (hopefully favorable 😉 ) opinion on a mix of fantasy, romance, and historical novels in the coming months.

Now … who’s ready for a giveaway? Because one is coming! I will be hosting a giveaway for 3 signed copies of Dance of Shadows! So be sure to check back tomorrow for the details.

Now, in other news, I have a very special announcement to make. Today, I am launching a brand new blog! This website is completely fantasy based for the purpose of promoting writers of speculative fiction as well as attracting readers who love the fantasy genre.

Other Worlds: Discovering New Worlds One Fantasy Writer at a Time, has been created for the purpose of helping writers get some free promotion, as well as introducing readers to authors they may not have heard about before. I have always wanted to create a website that reaches out to authors who are trying to get their name out there, but haven’t quite made it yet. As someone who still struggles with marketing and promotion, who is very limited at the moment to what she is able to do, I understand how tough it can be when you’ve poured your heart into your book but you’re running out of ideas to keep people interested and attract new readers.

Will you become famous overnight by participating on my new blog? I’d like to say yes. 😉 But all I can promise is a little extra promotion that will reach some readers you may not have reached before. Oh, and did I mention it will be lots of fun?

I hope you’ll stop by to check out what the new blog is all about and I hope to hear from you soon!

Other Worlds: https://otherworldsfantasywriters.wordpress.com/

Other Worlds2

It’s Here!!!

Good Morning everyone!

I am SO excited! Dance of Shadows, book 2 in The Winter Queen Series, released on October 29th! Who’s ready to get reading? Book 2 was so fun to write. There’s more of everything in this book. More danger, romance, dragons, and new characters! Everyone from book 1 grows and develops a little more in this story and it was such a thrill for me to write about them.

FBPost4I received so much support with this second book! If you were able to stop by Facebook on Monday evening, then you know the launch party was a huge success! I was joined by four other wonderful authors who made the night even better with games, giveaways and live videos. I’m so looking forward to repeating the experience next year with book 3!

Dance of Shadows is now available on Amazon and you can purchase your paperback copy HERE. Also, keep your eyes open! A Goodreads Giveaway will be coming up soon for your chance to win a signed copy of Dance!

Now, just to refresh your memory, here is the back cover blurb for Dance of Shadows! I hope you enjoy this second installment of my fantasy series, and don’t forget to leave a review! 😉

The Winter Queen has brought the storm … RGB_Dance of Shadows (1)
and the Abyss roams the halls of the Blood Keep.

Ten days have passed since Sundragon blood was shed for a sacrifice by Raphaela Kael. Ten days since Lathan and Maxx Jandry fled the city in search of Princess Damari Kael and their niece, Noelle. Brecken Jandry, Brae’s loyal husband, remains a tortured prisoner in the Kael dungeons and no one in Sunkai is safe from Roderick and Raphaela’s wrath.

Damari Kael flees Sunkai with little Noelle Jandry, determined to deliver the child to the safety of the Shadow Lands, even as her own power emerges within her. The Eventide Sisters embark on a mission to join the Winter Queen. Across the land, Clea Jandry arrives in her birthplace of Molderëin where she is met with a savagery she thought long dead. Afra Malaki seeks the Creator’s will and the Queen of the Woodlands prepares for battle.

In the peaceful city of Quintaria, the Winter Queen grieves. But the shadows are coming for her. They carry a message for Adlae Sundragon, and they will not rest until all is revealed.

Cover Reveal!!

So, the moment has arrived! It is time for me to reveal to you the BEAUTIFUL cover for Book 2 of The Winter Queen Series.

I am excited to say I am now in my second round of edits for A Dance of Shadows! We are one step closer to publication!

And now … drumroll please …

Tada!

RGB_Dance of Shadows

A Dance of Shadows should be coming your way this October as long as all goes well! I am so very excited for you to find out what happens to our characters in this next installment of my fantasy series, as well as for you to be introduced to some new people and places!

Now, to finish up, here’s the summary for A Dance of Shadows!

The Winter Queen has brought the storm … 
and the Abyss roams the halls of the Blood Keep.

Ten days have passed since Sundragon blood was shed for a sacrifice by Raphaela Kael. Ten days since Lathan and Maxx Jandry fled the city in search of Princess Damari Kael and their niece, Noelle. Brecken Jandry, Brae’s loyal husband, remains a tortured prisoner in the Kael dungeons and no one in Sunkai is safe from Roderick and Raphaela’s wrath.

Damari Kael flees Sunkai with little Noelle Jandry, determined to deliver the child to the safety of the Shadow Lands, even as her own power emerges within her. The Eventide Sisters embark on a mission to join the Winter Queen. Across the land, Clea Jandry arrives in her birthplace of Molderëin where she is met with a savagery she thought long dead. Afra Malaki seeks the Creator’s will and the Queen of the Woodlands prepares for battle.

In the peaceful city of Quintaria, the Winter Queen grieves. But the shadows are coming for her. They carry a message for Adlae Sundragon, and they will not rest until all is revealed.

Don’t forget to add A Dance of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads, here!

Why 13 Reasons Why is Important to Me

The first time I watched the Netflix Original series 13 Reasons Why I couldn’t get through it. I had pushed through the novel of the same name by Jay Asher, giving it 3 1/2 stars at the time, but attempting to watch Season 1 of the difficult and brutal show when it was first released was too much for me. I was not in a very good place myself at that time, so watching a teenage girl’s life be slowly destroyed until she saw no other course of action than to kill herself wasn’t the wisest thing for me to be watching at the time. I skipped to the last episode, just to see the end results, and thought I would never revisit the series.

And yet …

When Season 2 released a few weeks ago, I found myself with the curiosity itch. What sort of material did they still have to go on for a second season when they could’ve left it the way it was at the end of season one? What was their motivation in continuing for another 13 episodes? Too curious to ignore it any further, I decided to give 13 Reasons Why another shot. Who knew I would be so compelled by the story this time around, I would binge watch both seasons in a single week?

Warning: I personally recommend 13 Reasons Why not be watched by anyone who is seriously depressed, is currently being bullied or abused, or even by someone who has been severely abused in the past and is still healing. If you want to experience this show and you have gone through or are going through similar trials, be sure to watch with a friend or adult who can support you through it. The content is graphic (one of the things I really struggled with), and includes depictions of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse as well as suicide.

Now, let’s get to the story and message behind the show. 13 Reasons Why is about teenager Hannah Baker, who chose to take her own life. What she left behind was a box of cassette tapes on which she recorded her 13 reasons for committing suicide. Each reason involves different students from her High School, and the tapes are being passed to each of them by an anonymous and trusted individual who also has copies of said tapes to publicize should any of the rules Hannah stipulates at the beginning of tape 1 be broken. We begin with the tapes being discovered on the front porch of one Clay Jensen. As he starts listening, we get the distinct impression he is not the first to have heard the tapes, and we soon discover we’re right. So who is Clay Jensen in all of this? Why is he on the tapes? And which of the thirteen tapes is his?

13 Reasons Why can be one of those shows you sit down to watch and, after an episode or two, you begin wondering why you’re watching it … yet you can’t stop. Walking with Hannah through her experiences at Liberty High School is tragic and heartbreaking. A horrible lie follows Hannah through the last couple of years of her life and things only build off of one bully’s idiotic course of action. All the little things pile on into one big thing, until the final act against Hannah’s dignity and self-worth drive her to end the torture once and for all.

I heard many different opinions about this series, as well as the book. I once saw a review where someone said Hannah’s reasons for committing suicide were stupid and she was just weak not to get through them. The way this reviewer saw this show was entirely different from what I was seeing. What may seem insignificant to one person, may not be insignificant to another. And when one small thing after another continuously happens, it can drag a person down so deeply that it destroys a life. Which is precisely what happens to Hannah Baker.

So why is 13 Reasons Why important? How could I find a show about suicide so compelling? Let me tell you, it’s hard to answer those questions. It’s so very hard to explain what I was thinking and feeling as I stayed up late into the night watching this show, needing to know what happened next. Needing to understand why the bright, funny, and seemingly happy girl Hannah Baker thought she had no other option than to kill herself.

Mixed with a parade of abuse, singular moments of happiness, and the ultimate assault that leaves Hannah empty inside, 13 Reasons Why is a dynamic story that had me gasping, crying, laughing, and furious at intervals. I know what you’re thinking. Laughing? Really? Well, let me tell you that’s how realistic this show was. Because Hannah’s life reflected reality–Hannah’s reality–in a way that translated perfectly to the screen. You can find happiness and laughter, even in the worst of times, but it doesn’t mean those split-second moments are big enough to overwhelm the darkness.

Many of you may have already read a previous blog post of mine entitled What You Never Saw When You Looked At MeYou can read it again HereIn this post, I speak of my own experiences with depression and how it nearly led me to a life altering decision. A decision Hannah ultimately made in this story.

I suppose, in the end, that’s why 13 Reasons Why was so important to me personally. What Hannah went through, her struggles and fears, her feelings of worthlessness–that nobody cared enough about her to truly see what she was going through and do something to save her–it was all so familiar to me, it struck me to my very core.

Sometimes, the message behind a story like this can’t be explained. It can’t be articulated properly. Sometimes, you just need to see it for yourself and take from it what was intended. Everyone is here for a reason, and Hannah’s wasn’t to commit suicide and glorify an act that devastates the lives left behind. If you see glory in what she did, then you’re not looking at the full picture. Because while her death united kids at her school who had beforehand never been friends; while it wove strength and love between the individuals left behind who blamed themselves for what she did, it also left a hole in their hearts and lives that can never be filled by another person. And while the hurt will slowly fade as the years pass, Hannah’s choice will forever hang over them.

Suicide is not an option. This show depicted, with a subtle beauty, how this act can change and shape lives. How it devastates and destroys. How it locks people in fear. How things don’t get better with the loss, but worse. For her family, for her friends, 13 Reasons Why Seasons 1 & 2 showed how Hannah’s decision, and what she left behind, determined the actions of not only the good kids in her school, but the monsters as well.

You never know when something you say could change a life. You never know when you, a good person, could say something seemingly innocent that consequently devastates a life. Know the signs. See people. Stop the cruelty. By your example, show others how they should treat people.

Be there for the Hannah Baker in your life. You might not know you have a Hannah Baker, but if you look closely enough … you might find one.

God Bless,

Erica

I ask that no negative or hurtful comments be left. If you attempt to leave a negative comment on this post, it will be deleted. Thank you.

COMMON Blog Tour: A Review

Good Morning everyone!

So, it’s been awhile since I wrote a book review. Ready for a good one? 😉 I am so excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Laurie Lucking’s debut novel, Common!

What happens when a common maidservant falls in love with the crown prince and then overhears a plot against the royal family? Can she save them in time? Or will her unjust banishment result in tragedy for all?

People, Laurie Lucking made me believe in true love! At least, even more than I did before. 😉 Oh my goodness, this book had all the feels. My emotions were whirled up in a tornado over and over as I journeyed through this beautiful tale of love and courage. We walk with Leah down castle corridors, hide with her in a closet with a handsome prince, and travel with her to distant lands. We experience Leah’s desires and fears; her hopes and dreams. And when everything seems to be falling apart? Oh my poor, poor heart!

I was completely swept away by Miss Laurie’s debut novel. With a gentle start, guiding us into the lives of her captivating characters, we become acquainted with the land called Imperia, where young Leah works as a servant in the palace. But Leah has a secret. Her friendship with the Crown Prince, Rafe, is one of the few things she holds dear. She simply didn’t realize how dear he was to her until shortly after her birthday. Now with something more than friendship blooming between them, Leah’s heart and dreams are shattered when Rafe’s betrothal to a princess from another land is announced.

The mark of an excellent author is in what she makes you feel. When Rafe’s betrothal was announced, I shared Leah’s devastation. When Leah was banished for trying to protect the royal family, my heart broke. Reading page after page where Leah and Rafe couldn’t be together was absolute torture! But their love for one another never waned, and Leah’s courage when faced with great danger was such a suspenseful, inspirational moment.

I loved every bit of this story. The sweet romance, heart-pounding adventure, and the gentle lessons weaved throughout about God’s love for us, all comes together in the best fantasy romance I’ve read in quite some time.

Common by Laurie Lucking releases on February 14th. I’ve already pre-ordered my paperback copy. 😉

I was given a free ARC of COMMON to read for my honest review.

Check out the cover and description for Common!

CommonOnly one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it— the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Christmas, Fantasy, & Cover Reveals!!

Baby it’s cold outside! Neighbors are putting up their decorations, shopping ensues, and carols are being sung. Can you believe it’s already December 1st? We are another day closer to the biggest celebration of the year. A time to remember the miraculous birth of Jesus and celebrate Him and the many blessings we’ve received by His coming.

Paperback & Kindle WQ2

Winter has always been my favorite time of year. Something so magical happens when December arrives. Among these warm and fuzzy feelings, for me, the best thing to do is curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. Oh, how I love my books! 😉

But, at this time of year, part of the magic is how my inspiration soars! In case any of you were in doubt, Winter Queen was inspired in December.

I wanted to create a winter wonderland. A magical place where winter was fast approaching and the world becoming covered in a blanket of sparkly white was imminent. Where winter was not only beautiful, but important to the land. This built into a fantasy novel like no other I ever thought I’d write. I’ve always found winter to be such a lovely time, full of kindness, grace, and love.

AstraWriting Winter Queen was a magical experience. Writing Book 2 has been equally amazing. Coming back to all the characters I came to love in Book 1 is so satisfying, whenever I begin work on the second book of a series. The characters from my fantasy series in particular, however, are so special. I can take them anywhere; they can do anything. And it all happens during the fiercest winter their world has ever seen. If you’ve read the first book, then you already know when the first snow of Winter falls upon Nfaros. Anticipating book 2? I hope you are! Because I have been working very hard to see it completed. But the story won’t end there, so make sure you keep following my progress.

If you have read Winter Queen, I hope you’ll let me know! Reviews are very important to the survival of a book, and the reviews I have received for this new release of mine have been very encouraging. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know people have read and loved your story. Especially when you put it all out there in a book like a fantasy! I think thoseDamariare particularly frightening for a writer. The entire story comes from the author’s imagination. No historical facts. To create a world and the people in it entirely from my own imagination was scary! I didn’t know if it would sound ridiculous, or even make sense. Thankfully, it seems to have received the reaction I was looking for. 🙂

In case you were wondering, you still have a chance to win a free, signed copy of Winter Queen (The Winter Queen series #1) on Goodreads! Follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/260480-winter-queen and enter for your chance to win!!

Speaking of fantasy novels … there are so many authors out there who love to write in this genre! So many who enjoy it, too, even if they don’t write it. Which brings me to the cover reveal mentioned in the title. I am very happy to help promote this debut novel from Laurie Lucking.

Laurie is such a sweet person! She was the first to respond to my request for endorsements for Winter Queen and she gave me a beautiful review! I am so very thankful to have met her and very excited to be a part of her cover reveal team for her upcoming release, Common. So–drumroll please–here is the cover and description for Laurie Lucking’s soon-to-be-released novel:

One person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.Common

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Now, how GORGEOUS is that cover? I absolutely love the glow surrounding the young woman who takes front and center! I already know Miss Laurie is a beautiful writer based on her endorsement for Winter Queen and am very much looking forward to reading Common.

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I hope you all have a blessed and merry Christmas! Don’t forget, Winter Queen is available to purchase on Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

It’s Here!

I am so happy to announce that Winter Queen has officially released! It is now available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Winter QueenIf you missed the Facebook launch party on the 17th, I wanted to let you all know it was super fun! Lots of people checked in and participated, but I think the big success of the evening was the Rafflecopter contest! We had two winners come out of that and I look forward to doing another one soon!

Here’s a little description of Book 1 of The Winter Queen Series now available to order:

She will bring a storm like none they’ve ever seen … and change the world forever.

It’s been five years since Roderick Kael murdered King Vihaan Sundragon, claiming the throne of Sunkai and all of Nfaros for himself. Five years since the Princesses Adlae, Mirae, and Brae were forced to give up everything they’ve ever known. Five years since the Creator of All allowed winter’s snow to fall. But now the wind stirs with a familiar chill. Winter is coming down from the Ice Mountains, brought by the only one who can wield the storm. The Winter Queen herself.

In a faraway wood, one who survived watches and waits for her chance to reclaim what is hers by blood and birthright. Within the walls of the city, another bears the burden of survival and the consequences that came with it. Across the sea, from the distant mountains, two strangers come in search of one who can save them from the ice of winter. 

Within the palace of Sunkai, evil stirs. Loyalties are tried; love tested. And amidst these strange events, the Winter Queen prepares her storm … and Nfaros is not ready for her rage.

The Sundragon Sisters2

I am super excited to share these characters with you! This story blossomed into something I never expected and the three Sundragon sisters are very dear to my heart now. When I wrote this book, I knew I wanted to create strong sibling bonds, as well as fierce female characters to inspire readers. I truly hope I accomplished that!

I hope you will enjoy this story and these characters as much as I enjoyed writing about them! Don’t forget, Winter Queen is now available to order!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble