Book Review || The Follower

Hello Readers!

Adriana here with a Share The Love post for you lovely people 🙂 but first, I want to apologize for neglecting my blogging duties this Friday! This week has not gone as well as I had hoped and things went downhill…and to be honest, I forgot a post. But here I am again, hoping you will all forgive me and ready to redeem myself with today’s post!

Sharethelove

So, remember how I discussed why I loved the book called ‘The Follower’ by C.F Barrows a couple weeks ago? Well today I’m gonna expand on that!

Today, I am going to be reviewing one of my 100% absolutely all time favorite book! (you guys…I’ve read this book 5 times…in just over a year.) This book is published by a good friend, and this book is called The Follower (by C.F Barrows)

I am so excited to share it with you so I will get right into it 🙂

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Three hundred years ago, the Rhenor nation split into two, the Reshan and the Khanor. One dwells in the Outerlands, the other in the mountains – and although the nations have made peace, their people have not. One fateful day, two small patrols meet in an outer cave in Khanor territory. The youths, spurred by mutual distrust, brawl, and the ensuing cave-in cuts off their main routes back to both the Reshan and the Khanor civilizations. Their only choice is to join forces and follow the one remaining tunnel – one that runs through an area known simply as the Forbidden Regions – to find their way back to their homes. Along the way, the beliefs of every traveler are put to the test, and the secrets of a few may threaten the safety of all. For as they go, Lusefar, lord of the Saethen, sends his agents against them, licking his lips as a ravenous dragon.

Plot: The plot of this novel was A-Freaking-Mazing! Loved it so so much! *fangirl squeal* (Yeah I’m already squealing…and I haven’t even gotten to the characters yet 😉 ) It was so unique and engaging and filled with plot twists! (You guys know how much I love those!)

Genre: Fantasy!! :3 Oh gosh…I love fantasy. (though y’all know that by now I am sure)

Characters: Yes! The BEST.PART.EVER! *rubs hands together* Okay! Lets do this thing! Or in other words…Let the Fangirling commence! 😀

Sohrem: Love Sohrem. I don’t know what it is exactly that makes me like him so much. ( Quite a lot of reasons…) His attitude and personality was so great. And, I will admit sometimes the things he said or did made me laugh…Sohrem is such a great character overall and his story is so interesting. (Won’t say much cause I want you all to read it and discover for yourselves.)

Sheth: Is is appropriate to just put heart emoji’s or no?…

…I’m gonna go with maybe not but I will put this to good use….

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….okay and maybe ONE heart emoji. (Don’t judge me!) Okay, but seriously I mean it! *WARNING:FICTIONAL CRUSH ALERT*

Okay. So, Fictional Crush aside… <3…Sheth is a great character. I just-I-Ugh. Yeah….He’s awesome *Adriana has lost all ability to function properly and know how to continue with this review* 😛 I love his personality and character and- yeah…he’s just my favourite.

Okay… I really haven’t said why I like him so much, so I shall say why now. (Fangirling aside…for now) So! Sheth, I really liked his character. I especially liked how strong his faith was throughout the novel and I also liked how he kept a level head even when it came to patience when tension was rising between himself and the other characters. I loved his character on a hole but just his strength and such through tension and just…yeah. So great…okay, I’m done now.

Kyra: Three words to describe her:

1. Grumpy (kinda)

2. Sassy

3. …..Awesome!

I loved Kyra! She was such a great character with a very interesting (yet sad) story. She has her grumpy/sassy/snippy/angry moments but I also found her to be totally awesome and not to mention smart. (Not that the other characters weren’t but..you get my point) I really really really enjoyed Kyra’s character.

Ender: *cue dramatic music* Well…First of all, Ender is also kinda grumpy at points and always seems to pick fights with his sister, Kyra…True sibling rivalry at it’s finest!…that and Kyra isn’t completely innocent with the whole picking fights thing either) There are quite a lot of ways he and Kyra are alike though….and I think thats why they both butt heads so much.

Lehn: Lehn is such a great character. He’s smart, has almost no cooking skill according to his sister and is really caring and protective of his sister Shaetha. (We will talk about her in a minute) Lehn is rather quiet but really kind. I LOVE (like big fat puffy heart love) how he cares so much for his sister and watches over her. It’s just…Gosh its great.

Shaetha: I love Shaetha. She so sweet and so gentle. Throughout most of the story she was kind of the odd one out and definitely a bit of a misfit of the group (consisting of Sheth, Sohrem, Lehn, Yannah, Kyra, Ender and Jorthen), but she was also a great addition to this very interesting group. I really loved her character. SHe was just so sweet…Is it bad that I picture her to be like a sweet, innocent baby deer? (I don’t mean that in a bad way at all but it’s just kind of how I see it.)

Yannah: Yannah! I love Yannah! Shes amazing and just plain old awesome. She’s tough yet still quite girly which I liked 🙂 I also loved her slight sassy-ness she had going on sometimes. She is also really friendly and kind. Though she did have her moments where certain people would really annoy her. (but isn’t everyone annoyed by someone at one point?) Yeah…just…Yeah no words except that I really loved her 🙂

Okay! Last but not least, we have Jorthen: Overall, he’s just really cool and uhh…I’m running out of words….just so many AMAZING characters! Anyways, Jorthen is cool. He’s got a level head on his shoulders (and sometimes acts like hes some sort of political leader 😛 Not that that’s a bad thing…I’m just saying!) but yeah, I can definitely see why he is one of higher authority when it comes to the entire group.

So, as you can see, lots of characteers and lots of love to go around. The characters are absolutely lovely and totally awesome! I love them all so much! 😀 😀

Setting: The novel takes place in the fantasy world known as Sehret. While reading this book, I really found the setting to be quite believable and the setting just felt so real to me! Like I was right there in the world with the characters. Absolutely loved it and such well done work setting wise 🙂

Overall Thoughts: Ummm…You guys, I’ve read this book 5 times in just over a year…I think that expresses my overall thoughts on the book quite well, don’tcha think? But, either way, Overall I absolutely LOVED this book to itty bitty little pieces. (Okay I don’t necessarily know what that means but it sounds cool and you get my point) It was really good with a fantastic plot/storyline. It was beautiful 😀

Rating: My rating for this book is 5 stars! 5 REALLY BIG,BRIGHT AND SHINY STARS!!

So, now that I’ve reviewed this book and told you about all it’s amazingness, it’s time you go buy it (and maybe even the second book) and read it!….Like right now…..Why are you still here? Click the link below and go buy this amazingly beautiful book 😀

http://www.amazon.com/Follower-Sehret-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00AHJTAI2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414025161&sr=8-1&keywords=follower+cf+barrows

So, Until Next Time!

Adriana Gabrielle

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Interview- Jennifer Murgia

Hello Readers!

Today I have the honour of interviewing Jennifer Murgia, Author of Forest of Whispers.

So lets get this thing started, shall we?

 

Hello Jennifer, and Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about your novel?

I’m happy to! FOREST OF WHISPERS is a 17th century Bavarian witch mystery detailing a horrifying inquisition that centers around the life of a sixteen year old girl, Rune. Rune has been raised in the Black Forest just outside a village that, years before, had burned a witch at the stake for a murderous crime. What Rune discovers is that this witch was her mother and she begins to hear her whispers of intent to exact vengeance upon the village.

 

Wow. Sounds interesting. (I have this book on my TBR list) So, What inspired you to write FOREST OF WHISPERS? 

I love witch novels—always have, always will. I also love researching and found it beyond interesting that the largest (and original) sweep of witch trials began in Europe, mainly in and around the area of the Black Forest. My mother, who is a HUGE genealogy buff, had traced our family back to pre-Germania and later discovered our ancestors had settled in Southwestern Germany, and I couldn’t help wonder if they had lived through those horrible years and what they could have endured. Not only that, but it has long been rumored that a great, great, great grandmother of mine was accused of witchcraft. Incredible fodder for a story, wouldn’t you say?

 

Did you write an outline before writing the novel?

No. I’m not really an outline person. I tend to begin with a prologue to keep me focused, but the prologue doesn’t always become part of the story. It wasn’t until I was about ¾ through that I wrote a small outline to keep the timeline on track. I just always need a good chunk of the main story under my belt before I know if I’m headed in the right direction.

 

What was the hardest part of writing Forest of Whispers? 

During my research I read several accounts of those who had been accused of witchcraft, and suffered deeply as a result. What a dark and hideous time it must have been to live in. There was no hope as neighbor turned against neighbor for the silliest of reasons—famine, plague, jealousy. It had catastrophic results and even the most respected or wealthy could not be spared of the accusations.

 

In Bamberg alone, 60k innocent people were condemned. This was so hard to stomach as I tried to create a world around fact for my novel. If you were accused, denying your involvement only prolonged your sentence. Many eventually admitted they had cavorted with Satan or cast spells just to get it over with, as the torture they had endured was so excruciating it was better to admit you were a witch and welcome death.

 

What is one way you relate to your main character(s)?

Rune learns she is a solitary witch, which is often called a Hedge Witch. She doesn’t belong to a coven, nor does she follow any strict rules, other than honoring the Sacred Mother. I’m a very private person. My beliefs are my own yet I do follow a simple structure. I feel connected to Rune’s character in the sense that life is a gift, we should give thanks for what helps you along the way, and always stay true to your soul.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If you are to judge someone, prepare to be judged yourself – for things come around threefold.

 

Did you learn anything from writing FOREST OF WHISPERS and what was it? 

I love history and weaving it into a work of fiction gives me a tremendous feeling of satisfaction. You know when you hear of a tragedy and it’s almost TOO BIG to process? Like the Titanic sinking and picturing what the passengers went through on that fateful night—how they felt, what they saw, what they KNEW was about to happen . . . Researching and writing FOREST OF WHISPERS had that same effect on me. The backstory was so intricate, so horrifying it was nearly mind-numbing to accept. When you take the general history and break it down into individual stories and records—when you realize it’s not just a page from a book, or an idea, or a tale passed down, but a REAL event that happened to REAL people, it’s devastating.

I guess I can say I learned how much my heart can hold when I read about how people treated one another, and it breaks when I question if hundreds of years later, have we really become a society that treats people any differently? We may not have village burnings but we have other ways of pointing fingers and ruining.

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

When I was in High School the Young Adult section in bookstores was very limited—consisting of either very young, very sweet, or topics written anonymously and whispered about at school. I found my way to the works of Milan Kundera and devoured his titles. They spoke to me. They were emotional and gripping and begged me to dig deep and find myself. I grew up wanting to write like him.

 

What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

God. I can’t tell you how many prayers were sent to steer me in the right direction and to help me through the rollercoaster moments.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?

It’s a two-step process, really. Write the story first. Lock yourself away if you have to so you can pull the best possible story out of yourself, then revise, revise, revise. Have a few trusted individuals beta read it for you. Take their suggestions, plug them into your story. Oftentimes we’re too close to what we create to see the flaws, find the correct flow. But the more open you are to accepting suggestions, rejection, ideas on how to make what you have even more polished, the story will shine.

 

Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

Website: www.jennifermurgia.com

Email: jennifermurgia8@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.murgia

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferMurgia

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jennifermurgia/

Goodreads TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18506004-forest-of-whispers

Instagram: Jennifer_Murgia

 

 

Interview- S. Alex Martin

Hello Readers!

Adriana here with another interview from S. Alex Martin, author of Embassy

 

Could you tell us a bit about your novel?

EmbassyCover

 

Embassy follows Arman Lance, a 20 year old guy who’s down on life because he’s sick of where he lives, where he works, and having next-to-no friends. He wants to join the galaxy’s Embassy Program, which will let him board an expedition to Belvun, a forested planet where the girl he used to love lives. But when Arman enters the Embassy and journeys across the galaxy, he learns how he’s held himself back from appreciating his life.

 

 

 

 

What inspired you to write Embassy?

It began as a short story that I wrote for a magazine back in 2012. Though the magazine didn’t accept the submission, the editor encouraged me to broaden the story and turn it into a novel. I didn’t start writing the novel until January 2013, but it’s nothing like the original. Now it’s loosely based on a true story.

 

Did you write an outline before writing the novel?

Nope. I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I have vague ideas of what direction to head, but for the most part it’s trial and error.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your novel?

Honestly, coming up with names for fictional foods. It’s much more difficult than it sounds. The food isn’t a large part of the story, but my longest pauses were when I had to think of what to name a food Earth wouldn’t have.

 

What is one way you relate to your main character(s)?

As I said, Embassy is loosely based on a true story. The core themes are all things I learned in real life. So in that respect, I relate to Arman. The rest of the characters are all pieces of me. Glacia Haverns is my adrenaline-rush side, Victoria Hofhen is my responsible side, Officer Remmit is my brainiac and talkative sides, Orcher is my quiet, deep-thinking side…etc, etc. Combine all the main characters, and you have me.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Live life and enjoy it. Take the next step. Be who you want to be. As Glacia says, “It doesn’t matter what we think we deserve. All that matters is what we choose.”

 

Did you learn anything from writing Embassy? What was it? 

In real-life, Embassy helped me get out of a very deep hole. My mental rock bottom. I don’t think anything could’ve tied me down the way Embassy did. I make a note of this in the dedication: ‘To anyone who needs a second chance.’ Knowing where I was just days before writing this novel, I think it’s the perfect dedication for this book. Even now I’m getting a little teary-eyed thinking about it, hahaha.

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Thematic-wise, I think John Green is my biggest influence. I love his style and his stories. I almost ran into him at the Pittsburgh Pirates playoff game back in 2013. Almost.

 

What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

My friends were there from the start. They’d come hang out as I sat and typed or edited for hours upon hours every day for months on end. I appreciate their patience and support, even now, almost two years after I started writing Embassy.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?

Don’t just sit down and think you have something to say. Go out and live. Explore. Do something you’ve never done before. Go swimming in a lake, go climb a mountain, go walk through a forest. Volunteer somewhere. Cry over someone. Be human and experience your humanity. Then you’ll have a story to tell.

 

Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

http://www.salexmartinauthor.blogspot.com

 

You can buy Embassy on that website, too, and all my social media links are in the header of the site.

Interview- C.F. Barrows

Hello once again readers!

Today I have another interview for you all and I am so excited! Today I am interviewing my really good friend, Carissa. (Or better known in the publishing world as C.F Barrows. 😉 ) So let’s jump right into this because I am excited!

 

 

CarissaProfilPic
C. F. Barrows writes not only to entertain, but to share with her generation the good news of Jesus Christ. She is a homeschool graduate, and lives in Northern Indiana with her family, a hyperactive dog, and hundreds of fictional characters birthed by her own over-active imagination.

 

Hello, and Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about your books? 

Well, I guess technically, I have two novels. There are many more lurking inside my brain, waiting to be written into existence, but as it is, I guess there are only two which I can currently discuss. 

‘The Sehret Chronicles’ is a Christian Fantasy series geared mostly towards teen and young adults. It takes place in a world called (as one might guess) Sehret, and centers on some of the people who live in it. ‘The Follower’ (the first book) is the story of two scouting patrols who are trapped in a cave-in together and, with their main routes back home blocked, have to band together to escape. It was my first novel, and my perfectionist self wants to rewrite it, but I’ve been told it’s a strong allegory of faith and the battle between good and evil. Here’s the full blurb: 

“Three hundred years ago, the Rhenor nation split into two, the Reshan and the Khanor. One dwells in the Outerlands, the other in the mountains – and although the nations have made peace, their people have not. One fateful day, two small patrols meet in an outer cave in Khanor territory. The youths, spurred by mutual distrust, brawl, and the ensuing cave-in cuts off their main routes back to both the Reshan and the Khanor civilizations. Their only choice is to join forces and follow the one remaining tunnel – one that runs through an area known simply as the Forbidden Regions – to find their way back to their homes. Along the way, the beliefs of every traveler are put to the test, and the secrets of a few may threaten the safety of all. For as they go, Lusefar, lord of the Saethen, sends his agents against them, licking his lips as a ravenous dragon.” 

The prequel, ‘The Merchant’s Son’, follows three of the main characters approximately seven years before the events of ‘The Follower’. It’s my favorite of the two, probably because it’s newer and there were fewer characters to wrangle, therefore enabling me to develop the ones I had more fully. I guess it’s also an allegory, both of the battle between good and evil, of the slippery slope of temptation, faith, and self-sacrificing love. Here’s the blurb for that (because I’m lazy and it’s easier to copy and paste than figure out how to better explain myself): 

“Sheth Terrem is the son of traveling merchants, making one last stop in the bordertown of Lans before they return home with their newly-acquired merchandise. But then tragedy strikes, and a simple promise sends Sheth to live with a man he’s barely met, who seems as though the last thing he wants is an orphaned teenager to look after.
Sern Jesyn expected to look after the boy for a day, perhaps a week or two at the most. With unrest in the streets and among those who walk them, living alone is trial enough. Now that their time together has been termed indefinite, and long-suppressed memories come back to haunt him, he is uneasy at the thought of following through on his word.
But what neither of them knows is that their trouble did not end with the riot. Rather, it lives on in the surviving rioters, and in a boy called Siran, who has begun to find keeping his nose out of his older brother’s business both difficult and increasingly dangerous.” 

What inspired you to write ‘The Sehret Chronicles’? 

In high school, I contracted something called Lyme Disease. It’s a degenerative auto-immune disease which is difficult to diagnose, so I had it for a year and a half before we got a diagnosis and started treatment. During that time before my diagnosis, my mind and body were crumbling, and my faith began to erode with them as depression and confusion engulfed me. It effectively put my faith through the fire, and forced me to question just how strongly I believed, and how much I was willing to trust God. God brought me out of that valley, but through it, ‘The Follower’ was born. I channeled a lot of my own inner struggles and beliefs into it, so a lot of the struggles of the characters were my own struggles repackaged, and the revelations to which they came were those which God taught me through that struggle of an unknown illness. ‘The Follower’ was meant to be a stand-alone, but I fell in love with the characters and realized there were many stories left to be told with them, so it became a series. Funny, considering that the original story concept was just a random scene that I jotted down in my notebook and added to for fun whenever I got bored. 

 

That is probably the coolest thing I’ve heard on how a story was created. (Not cool that you have lyme disease but as to how it came about) So, since I’m a plotter I have to ask, did you write an outline before writing the novel? 

Ha. Funny story there. Yes, I did write outlines, both for ‘The Follower’ and for ‘The Merchant’s Son’. I also plotted out the series as a whole. But through the actual writing process, I have discovered this: I cannot follow a set plotline to save my life. Usually, what happens is that I start writing the novel, get a couple of chapters in, and realize that I have no idea what I’m doing. So I sit down and write an outline (as detailed as possible based on what I’ve already figured out), and I follow it faithfully for, oh, say five chapters. Then a major plot twist smacks me in the face, and in my excitement (or possibly just in reaction to having been smacked in the face), I toss the outline out the window. Okay, not literally. But I might as well. I become a pantster at least by the halfway point, and usually have to regroup and recruit friends to help me brainstorm a solution for the mess I’ve made for myself. 

 

That’s me with outlines too. I outline then a plot twist surprises me then I just go from there. Now, tell me what was the hardest part of writing your novel? 

I guess it would depend on which novel you mean. With both of them, and with other projects, my biggest problem is sticking with the story once I’ve hit that “I have no idea what I’m doing” stage. With ‘The Follower’, I followed my outline very rigidly for the first several chapters, and I feel like it restricted me to some extent, which was stressful, so I had trouble sticking with it for a while. ‘The Merchant’s Son’ started out being a more mundane story in which Sheth is orphaned, goes to live with Sern, and somehow befriends Siran while he’s living in Lans. At least, those were the bare-bones of what I had to work with, and it sounded terribly boring to me. It took a couple of major plot changes and twists smacking me in the face to convince me that it was worth finishing, but ultimately, it is my favorite of the two. 

 

I’m trying to hard not to fangirl over all the character here. (Conceal it, don’t feel it.) Okay, so since I read the books I’ve been dying to know, what is one way you relate to your main character(s)? 

Oh, boy. Only one way, huh? I’m not sure I can do that. I guess for ‘The Follower’, I relate to Sheth’s struggle in maintaining his faith in the face of trials, Jorthen’s desire for perfection, and Kyra’s desperation to appear strong when she’s falling apart inside. In ‘The Merchant’s Son’, I can relate to Sheth’s bookishness and Sern’s battle between his own nature and what Yahveh wants him to do. In both books, there is an overarching theme of trusting God even when you don’t know what He’s doing, and I guess when I wrote that, I was really teaching myself more than the characters, so I can relate to their struggles in that area. 

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

…Oops. Did I answer this one too soon? Oh, well. I guess the general message of the series that I want readers to grasp is that God is there, and that He has a plan, even when things get hard, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing. He’s so much bigger than anything we can comprehend, and He never leaves. He’s worth trusting. 

 

That is great! A message I think everyone needs to hear! Did you learn anything from writing ‘The Sehret Chronicles’ and what was it? 

I guess for one thing, I learned that if God is in something, it will succeed despite my doubts and weaknesses. ‘The Follower’ is not a perfectly written book. I’ve gotten numerous reports of confusion from early on in the book, largely due to the number of characters. I am a perfectionist, so even letting anyone read my most painstakingly edited work takes a great act of courage. But even with the book’s flaws, I’ve heard so many more people say how much the book has blessed them and helped them grow in their faith. As much as I would love for everyone to be dazzled with my writing, it is more important to me that the message gets across without sounding preachy, and that it really does something to help people. And by God’s grace, that’s apparently what has happened. 

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

…I have to choose? *hides* Okay, um… Not that I’d imitate all his content (especially in his recent years), but I guess Ted Dekker was a significant influence on my writing. From him I got my love of allegory, and of illustrating the contrast between good and evil, and I think I take after him somewhat in my style (though obviously, he’s much more amazing). However, I have also been told that C. S. Lewis is a strong influence, and I intentionally patterned a couple of the villains after Screwtape and Wormwood from ‘The Screwtape Letters’. And then there’s Tolkien, of course… Sorry, I can’t pick one. I just can’t. 

 

No pressure. I don’t think I could just pick one either. (Great choices by the way) What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members? 

In 2010, I joined ChristianWriters.com, a community of Christian writers looking to share in fellowship and encourage one another in their writing/publishing journeys. I haven’t been that active recently, but I got a lot of useful feedback and encouragement in the most formative years of my fledgling writing career. The members there even prayed for me when I said that I was struggling with writing ‘The Follower’ within my given deadline. It was awesome. I felt accepted, despite my lack of age and experience, and it was just so helpful for me. 

 

Okay, so not gonna lie. I totally checked out that site and signed up before posting this…just saying 🙂 So, last but not least, do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general? 

Don’t give up. I know that the path ahead looks daunting at times (if not most of the time). I know the terror of sharing your writing with others who might not appreciate it in the way I hope they will. I know the lure of plot bunnies that try to pull you away from your main project with their promises of a more interesting story. But if you stick with your project and give it over to God, I promise it will be worth it, whether you end up publishing it or not. Nothing is written in vain. You either accomplish what you set out to do, or you learn from the experience. Getting anywhere in the writing world requires developing a thick skin, so to speak, and learning to realize that if people don’t love your work, it is not a reflection on you personally. You can always work harder and make your writing better. Negative feedback is not the end of the world, and failure in the short term might set you up for greater success in the long run. 

 

Oh yeah! Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

Well, let me just write up my list here… 

Pinterest (Has storyboards and character profiles, writing prompts, humor boards, as well as a myriad of other random things): http://www.pinterest.com/CrazyWriter94/ 

Goodreads (I’m not very active here, but you can follow me anyways): https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5587583-carissa 

Facebook (For news and updates on books, sales, giveaways, etc.): https://www.facebook.com/pages/C-F-Barrows/356238444468516

Blogger (For randomness pertaining to books, writing, faith, and whatever pops into my head on a given day): http://www.digressionsofadementedscribe.blogspot.com 

Interview- Laura L. Smith

Hello Readers!

Today I am interviewing yet another author and I am pleased to get this opportunity to talk to Laura L. Smith, Author of novels ‘Hot’,’Skinny’, ‘Angry’ and the ‘Status Update Series’

IMG_1920Hi Laura, So great to have you here! Could you tell us a bit about your novel?
It’s Addicting is the third book in the Status Updates series. It revolves around four college roommates and the struggles and triumphs they encounter as they navigate the demands and freedoms of college life.
What inspired you to write ‘insert title’?

I live in a college town and am surrounded by vibrant college women. They are so full of potential, energy and life, yet plagued with so many pressures to perform, to fit in, to juggle school, social and family life. These women inspired me to write this series tackling some of the things they have to deal with like relationships and homesickness, grades and finances, sharing a small living space with new friends and knowing how far is too far. Specifically, It’s Addicting deals with the little things in life we enjoy or use to comfort us or build ourselves up. What happens when those small pleasures become vices? When we rely to heavily on a habit or a relationship or a mindset? When do they cross the line to become addictions that dominate our decision making? And how do we deal with that? It’s Addicting follows Claire, Hannah, Palmer and Kat in their sophomore year of college. It explores the various coping mechanisms and pleasures they seek ranging from exercise to boys and how that changes them. It is a faith-based novel, so it really explores how worldly things can come in conflict with our faith and how challenging it can be to balance living in this world, but not being of this world.

Did you write an outline before writing the novel?
No. I’m not an outline kind of girl. But I always have an idea, a sketch of what the book is going to be about. It’s Addicting had characters, and each of them had a specific “addiction” she was going to deal with long before I started writing it. Since it was the third book in the Status Updates series, several of the ideas evolved as I wrote the first two books, thoughts like, “at some point Claire is going to have to face this,” or “Kat’s going to have to watch how hard she trains. It’s awesome, but it seems to control her sometimes.” I took those ideas and nuances of the characters and started brewing their sophomore year. I had some ideas for a spring break trip, because it’s an integral part of college, and an international travel program to Germany, because all of these books have an international element, but the details come as part of the writing process.

What was the hardest part of writing It’s Addicting? 
I always find the editing process to be the hardest part. It’s difficult to cut scenes or dialogue that I worked so hard to craft. It’s also challenging to add to scenes that I’d hoped were completed. But editing is also so rewarding! It’s like taking a rough, rocky gem from a stream and polishing it until it’s smooth and glossy. Editing truly improves writing. In fact, it is an integral part of the writing process.
Editing is definitely a struggle for me but once I do it it feels great to have finished 🙂 So,I absolutely love the characters in this series meaning I have to ask, what is one way you relate to your main character(s)?
Wow! There are a million ways I relate to all of my characters, and yet, they are also so different than me. There are slices and shreds of me in all of them. I was a ballerina, like Claire. I am a writer, like Palmer. I have a close relationship with my older brother, who is my only sibling, like Kat. Hannah is kind of the “mom” of their group, getting people tea, writing notes on their white board. I actually am a mom, so I do those kinds of things for my family all of the time. I love to travel, and all of the places the characters have ventured are places I’ve visited; Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, the beach. I love chocolate and coffee houses and going for runs and music, and the girls all find themselves doing these things, because these are experiences I want them to have.

That is great! I love how as the writer you are also a little bit of all your characters. 🙂 So,  is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My hope with this novel, with all of my books really, is to remind readers that they are beautiful creations in Christ, that their identity doesn’t have to be wrapped in the world’s expectations, but can be wrapped in Christ, that they are wonderfully and fearfully made by their Creator, and that we need to keep our eyes fixed on that, because when we do, all of our struggles are easier, there is more peace and strength and joy in our lives.
What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
God. He is the author of the universe. All of my ideas come from Him. Literally. I’ll be sitting and writing and entire scenes and characters spring forth where there was nothing. He gives me divine inspiration. I write for Him.

Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?
Write. Write. Write. And then write some more. The more you write, the better you get. The more you comment on blogs, write your own blogs, write letters, enter short story contests, write poetry, etc., the more you’ll exercise your writing muscles.

Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodreads, FB, Blog etc etc.)
Just about every where 🙂
My website and blog are http://www.laurasmithauthor.com
FB https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-L-Smith/41514076249
Twitter @LauraLynnSmith
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/laurasmithbooks/
Instagram http://instagram.com/laurasmithauthor
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5577597.Laura_L_Smith

 

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LAURA L. SMITH, author of New Adult/Young Adult Fiction

Laura L. Smith loves God, her husband, her four children, writing and speaking. She writes real stories for real girls. Her previous books include Skinny, Hot, and Angry. She is a featured columnist at Choose Now Ministries and speaks at schools, churches and campuses around the country. Smith lives in the college town of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Interview- K.M Weiland

Hello Readers! Today I am honoured to be joined by author K.M Weiland for an interview! The fact that I have this opportunity is very exciting!

Now, let’s get started 🙂

What inspired you to start writing?
One of my earliest memories is a story I came up with when three or four. I don’t remember a whole lot about it except that I was the hero in a tree house, and I saved my entire extended family (we were at a family reunion) from some unknown evil.

So, really, story-telling chose me. I’ve always been dreaming stories; writing them down was just the next step in a natural progression.

Wow. That’s awesome. I really love how your childhood imagination never really leaves you when it comes to writing sometimes 🙂 or when it’s the thing that started it all.

Do you write an outline before writing your novels?
Always. In a nutshell, my process goes something like this:

1. Craft a premise sentence.
2. Brainstorm ideas.
3. Explore character backstory.
4. Interview characters.
5. Identify settings and/or world build.
6. Write an extended outline (in which I flesh out and structure each scene).
7. Condense that outline into the most pertinent notes and type them up in Scrivener.

What do you find, is the hardest part of the writing process?
Every book is its own adventure. Something that’s easy in one book can end up being surprisingly difficult in another. Major rewrites, when they’re necessary, are probably my least favorite part—but they offer their own rewards too. Honestly, I enjoy aspects of every part of the process.

Rewrites and I are never on agreeing terms. So, what is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
My critique partners have been great, especially my longtime critter Linda Yezak. We’ve been critiquing and supporting each other since before my second book came out. It’s awesome to know another writer has your back and is able to both help you grow in your own writing and also commiserate about issues non-writers wouldn’t necessarily understand.

That’s awesome. Critique partners are amazing. Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?
First, write the best story you have in you. Second, don’t expect to find success with your first novel. It can happen, but it’s not likely. Keep writing until you’re personally confident in the book and are no longer hearing about any major problems from your critique partners. There’s no reason to self-publishing or querying agents until you’ve reached that point.

 

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K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

 

Thank you K.M Weiland for doing this interview and thank you, my wonderful readers for stopping by to read this interview! (More coming soon 🙂 )

 

Until Next Time!

Adriana Gabrielle

Book Review- Becoming the Chateran by S.J Aisling

Hello Fellow Readers!

Today I am going to do a book review of ‘Becoming the Chateran’ by S.J Aisling (first book in the Chateran series)

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When Princess Rhea’s actions inadvertently condemn two innocent knights to death, she wakes to the hard reality that not even nobility is above the law. All her attempts to remedy the situation only complicate it, however, until she finds herself a fugitive in her own kingdom, having dragged her best friend into the trouble, as well. Their only hope for pardon? To accompany Sir Paladin and Sir Zephen in their sentence:

Slay, or be slain by, the Dragons of Sama-Ael-Fen.

Travelling incognito, they meet with more malicious Phoenixes than could be coincidental, discover the mysterious disappearance of numerous citizens, and come face to face with a reawakened evil power. With the kingdom oblivious to the connection of these dangers, it’s up to Rhea and her outlaw companions to stop the rising threat and redeem their names – if they can survive their quest.

 

Plot:

The Plot was flipping fantastic! Loved every detail of it! And this one plot twist man it just-

*this has been blocked due to major spoiler*

Okay….So as you can tell. One of my favourite plot twists has a major spoiler….Which plot twists don’t have some sort of spoiler though, right?

Anyways…LOVED the plot! Very well done, very unique and overall just AMAZING!

 

Genre: Dude. It’s Fantasy.My favourite genre. What’s not to love??

Not only that. I love it because not only is it Fantasy but it’s clean fiction people!

The world needs good, clean fiction and this, my friends, is it.
Characters:

Okay so. I’m not only talking about the Main Characters but a few supporting characters as well (who were personal favourites). Since I’m gonna do that…I’ll keep stuff short.

Short but sweet!

but first. I wanted to say that overall the characters were magnificently done! Loved the characters so much! They all had their own voices and personalities and they all felt real. So now, what I liked about the characters themselves:

Rhea: I LOVED Rhea’s character! She was so unique and I loved it. I think I could relate to her. (well in a couple ways. I think I could relate to Hiylienea a little better but still) I really really liked her! She

Paladin:

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Okay, okay…there is no denying it. I have got a fictional crush on this character. 😛
I know as die-hard readers you people have experienced fictional crushes before too…so don’t judge.

Anyways.

Now onto what I was gonna say originally before I said the above thing *clears throat* Paladin is awesome! He’s one of my favourites. (Obviously). I loved everything about him and his personality.

Zephen: Got one word: EPIC!!!!
I LOVE GRIFFINS SO MUCH. I really do. If I wasn’t super obsessed already that obsession has now grown. I LOVE Zephen!

Hiylienea: I loved Lienea. She was one of my favourites. I could really relate to her! She was very sweet and quiet yet, when the time came, she proved to be really helpful and strong. She was awesome.

Prince Ohnferead: Personally I found this guy to be a bit of a snot. I wanted him to go die in a puddle….but thats just my opinion. Really well written character though but he’s just one of those characters that you don’t personally enjoy yet you don’t absolutely hate either…. I know it probably sounds like I absolutely hate him but I don’t…well I do…oh you guys get what I mean, I’m sure.

Quavarelle: I love Quavarelle. She was really sweet and happy and very friendly. DOn’t have much to say except that…I really liked her character 🙂

Dancetty: First of all. Awesome name. She was one of my favs when it came to some of the centaurs that are mentioned by name and had a more major role (compared to the other minor/supporting characters). That and I just love Centaurs on a whole to…so that adds to the favouritism.

Julen: Julen just cracked me up. Not in the bad way mind you. He was just so awkward, rather talkative, clumsy and did I mention awkward yet? I seriously LOVED this character to bits. Personally I also really shipped Julen and Hiylienea…I don’t know if they will ever officially happen, but if they actually become a couple or something I would be really happy….
Setting: GAH! The setting/world. *faints* It felt SO real! It literally felt like I was standing right there, in the world. Everything was so well described and well done and yeah….AMAZING! Everything was amazing.

Overall: Overall I give this book 5 Stars out of 5. I LOVED it and EVERYTHING about it. I devoured the entire book in a day…well less than. I would say about 5 hours…anyways.

Amazing novel! 5 out of 5 Stars for me. Go read it now.

Also, I wanted to say this: I WANT THIS MADE INTO A MOVIE.

Right now.

Gimme.

This book NEEDS its own movie. End of story.

Okay, moving on to the last part of the review:
What I didn’t like: There was NOTHING I didn’t like. You hear that? NOTHING! Loved it all!

 

 

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So this has been my review of ‘Becoming the Chateran’

Hope you all liked it!

 

Until Next Time!

Adriana Gabrielle