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An Interview With M.H. Elrich

I’m so excited to share my interview with M.H. Elrich! She shares the heart behind Etania’s Worth, the inspiration she hopes readers find in the story, and her plans for the rest of The Daughters of Tamnarae series!

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Etania’s Worth is such a powerful, redemptive story. What inspired you to include characters who are struggling to receive grace and accept God’s calling on their lives?

First off, thank you for the compliment. I definitely wanted that to come across in my book, so it makes me happy that you discovered it! I was actually inspired by real life circumstance. I have also struggled with receiving grace and accepting God’s calling on my life. For a long time, I vacillated between doing an office job and teaching. Eventually, God convinced me to teach, albeit kicking and screaming, and I discovered he was right, I love it! So I can relate to Etania very much about not being sure if this is what God really wants. I also have thought I didn’t deserve God’s love or grace, so writing that for Etania came through easily.

What made you choose to write in the Christian fantasy genre? How do you think this genre uniquely speaks into readers’ fears or struggles?

I chose to write in the Christian fantasy genre because I realized it was impossible for me to separate my faith elements from my fiction. Many people are able to write clean fiction without faith elements, and maybe one day I will be able to do that. But right now, I find it easier to have a God character in Melchizedek and focus on the Christian audience. I think this genre speaks uniquely to Christians in that it inspires them in their faith. I think that more Christians need books that help them grow in their faith, and not through nonfiction, but through the fiction format. Plus, this helps the nerds like me out there who love fantasy, but also love God.

Parents are typically absent from young adult stories. I love that your book is different! What led you to give the parents such pivotal roles in the story?

I actually want to reverse reader expectations, so that’s a good catch. 😁 As a reader myself, I saw the absentee parents trope and thought: that’s not realistic! Most people have one or two parents. So I wanted to create a relationship dynamic with parents that was realistic. As a young woman, I wasn’t as close to my father as I am now. Formulating Etania’s relationship with Jakin was easier because of these experiences. I haven’t gone through exactly what Etania went through with her mother, but I know how I would feel if I did. Thus, I created parents that reminded me of my own, but different.

I walked away from Etania’s story with a fresh understanding of Who God is and who I am in Him. What do you most hope that readers take away from reading Etania’s Worth?

Honestly, that is the message I wanted people to take away from my story! I’m so happy you got it! 😀 I recently added to the novel the key verse, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies.”-Proverbs 31:10 KJV. I want every young woman who reads this book to realize that God loves them and values them far more than rubies.

Can we look forward to a sequel to Etania’s story?

Yes! Finally, after two years of finishing my credential and the draft of Etania’s Calling, I am able to work on finishing it. I hope to come out with the sequel in December, God willing, and publish the next book in Etania’s series the year after that. Therefore, Etania’s story will take place over three novels, Etania’s Worth, Etania’s Calling, and Etania’s Destiny. After I finish working on Etania’s stories, I intend to start publishing three books on Etania’s daughter, Lavanna, and at least one book on Etania’s mother, Tala. That should complete my Daughters of Tamnarae series, but who knows? God may inspire me to write more. The best way to stay tuned to my book progress is to join my email list or to follow me on Instagram.

I talk about it more on those two platforms than anywhere else.

Thank you so much for the interview!

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Thank you so much for doing this interview! Follow M.H. Elrich’s writing journey at the links above, and be sure to grab a copy of Etania’s Worth on Amazon or Bookshop!

Next week, I’ll be featuring my review of A Tapestry of Light and an interview with the author, Kimberly Duffy! I can’t wait!

Alexandria

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Book Review: Etania’s Worth

What a delight to share this wonderful story with you this week! Read my full review of Etania’s Worth by M.H. Elrich below! And come back on Thursday for a special interview with the author!

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Etania. She felt Melchizedek’s voice, warming her whole body… Lean on me.”

The land of Tamnarae and its people are at terrible risk. Melchizedek is no longer amongst them, and the forces of Malstorm, known as the Skazic, are rising once more.

Yet, there are those blessed with Neuma – unique gifts bestowed by Melchizedek Himself – who remain loyal and are willing to risk all to fight for what is good and true.

But when Etania, along with her family and friends, is called to join the fight, she discovers that leaning on Melchizedek in faith is the greatest battle of all…

Etania’s Worth is such a remarkable story. Full of adventure, love, betrayal, and courage, it’s a novel that is sure to entertain readers of all ages and challenge them to face their fears with bold faith.

The characters struggle with real brokenness and doubt, but what truly sets this story apart is the redemptive arc that most of the characters experience. Reading a novel where many characters learn to receive grace and healing was so refreshing. I’m sure that readers will agree, as they turn the last page, that we need more stories as brave and full of faith as Etania’s Worth.

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I’m so grateful that I had the chance to read this remarkable story!

Pick up a copy for yourself and a friend at Amazon or Bookshop (a wonderful site that supports independent bookstores with every purchase)!

Join me on Thursday as I share a wonderful interview with M.H. Elrich!

Until then, happy reading!

Alexandria

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An Interview With D.M. Sonntag

I’m excited to welcome D.M. Sonntag, author of The Lightning Bride, to my blog today! She shares news of her upcoming book release, what encourages her amidst the challenges of being an indie author, and what she believes sets her book apart from other YA fantasy!

Read on below and check out my full review of The Lightning Bride here!

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The Lightning Bride includes both mythical creatures and characters with magical powers. What inspired you to include those elements in the story?

I’ve always been fascinated with magical powers and constantly think on all the various ways someone could manipulate an element, like fire. I wanted to give the main character of The Lightning Bride, Maylie, something more than just one elemental component, so I made her an energy mage and explored the boundaries and usages of that magical power.

While I enjoyed the Little Mermaid as a child, I didn’t really get into those mythical creatures until Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stanger Tides. The movie introduced the concept that mermaids could walk on land once they dry, and be somewhat malevolent. I was fascinated and wanted to do something more on that. I wondered how they reproduce and got the inspiration from vampires that these somewhat malevolent fanged mermaids bit women to make more mermaids.

What’s your favorite thing about the YA fantasy genre?

I love the escape into another world with fantasy in general, and when it’s YA the main characters are typically teenagers thrust into life changing situations. It’s empowering to read about young characters who overcome trials and accomplish their goals when the world said they couldn’t due to being “just kids.” It was challenging enough when I was a young adult in the real world, so I loved reading stories about characters just like me in fantasy worlds where I could escape my reality and gain inspiration from their triumphs. If they could ride dragons or slay monsters, I could pass that physics test.

YA fantasy is an incredibly popular genre and there are a lot of books to choose from. What do you think sets The Lightning Bride apart from other YA fantasy novels?

I have yet to read a popular YA fantasy book centering on pirates! I could be very wrong and they are out there, but normally if I pick up a YA fantasy book, it’s either about faeries or vampires the majority of the time. Neither of those creatures are in my Kingdom Isles novels, because I wanted to write something that isn’t overdone and sets it apart from other YA novels.

Pursuing indie publishing presents unique challenges. What has encouraged you through those challenges? What are some ways that you encourage/support other authors?

Finding a community has definitely encouraged me. I could not have accomplished everything that I have alone, and it’s strengthening to know that there are others struggling with the same things that I struggle with, because we can help each other and hold each other accountable. Some ways that I encourage and support other authors is reading their books and promoting their works. As an indie author myself, I know how important reviews are, not only to help the authors become seen but provide feedback on how to improve their writing. I also try to market books that I’ve read and loved as equal if not more than my own book, especially in my day job or to my family and friends.

Are there any fellow indie authors you’d like to give a shout-out to?

Absolutely! I would not be where I am today without Genevieve Crownson, author of The Argos Dynasty trilogy and Cage of Glass. She convinced me to self-publish and gave me the tools and resources to get my foot in the door.

Matthew Romeo has become one of my good friends in the writer community on Instagram, and we’ve learned we’re very similar in our writing styles and elements that we enjoy to read. He just completed his sci-fi fantasy trilogy, The Maven Knight!

Luke Courtney is also another fellow, whose fantasy worldbuilding is absolutely incredible and I call the new indie Tolkien. He is always super supportive of my writing and we’ve bonded over our shared love for the Witcher series.

A. M. McPherson is about to release her debut novel, The Guardian’s Daughter, in September! We met through beta reading of my prequel novella, The Mermaid’s Shadow, and became immediate friends (similar to that scene in Stepbrothers) by finding out the fandoms we’re both into.

What can you tell us about upcoming projects or releases?

The Lightning Bride is just the first of many! The Mermaid’s Shadow is already out, and it is a prequel novella following the mother of my main character in TLB. The Golden Wolf will be Book Two in the Kingdom Isles series which I hope to release in August, and there will be a third and final book in this series. I also have two more prequel novellas planned, though am unsure if one is getting released before or after Book Three.

After the Kingdom Isles, I have so many projects! My most immediate is a YA trilogy about werewolves and vampires in a small-town theater, then after that a generational seven book steampunk series.

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Thank you so much for joining me for this interview!

You can connect with D.M. Sonntag on Instagram and her website!

The Lightning Bride is available on Amazon!

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Next week, I’m looking forward to featuring my review of Etania’s Worth by M.H. Elrich and an interview with the author!

Until then,

Alexandria

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Book Review: The Lightning Bride

This week, I’m sharing my book review of D.M. Sonntag’s YA fantasy novel, The Lightning Bride! Read on for my full review and come back here on Thursday for a special interview with the author!

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Have you ever wondered where you belong?

Maydeline Shadow is wondering the same thing and all the more as her family’s life and reputation in the Northern Kingdom begins crumbling.

Reviled for their connection to a world of mermaids and magic, it seems that the Shadow family is relying on Maylie to find a husband who can restore their standing.

But as Maylie searches, she realizes that her family is swept up in a story years in the making, hunted by a crazed mage who is desperate for revenge. And as the days pass, the most urgent question becomes if the Shadow family will survive the danger at all…

The Lightning Bride is an action-packed, YA fantasy novel that blends myth and magic in an exciting and unique way. Whether you’re looking for adventure on the sea or longing to know what dangers might lurk beneath the waves, this story will have something to intrigue and delight YA readers.

The biggest difficulty I had while reading The Lightning Bride was finding Maylie unrelateable at times. I struggled to connect to her character, and it made it difficult to root for her throughout the story.

That being said, there are many strong aspects to this novel. I particularly loved the way that so many different cultures were included and explored.

All in all, D.M. Sonntag has created a unique world, one that readers looking for a fantasy adventure will enjoy!

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The Lightning Bride is available on Amazon! Once you’ve finished the adventure, please leave a review on Goodreads! A simple review is one of the very best ways you can support authors!

You can connect with D.M. Sonntag on her website and Instagram, so you don’t miss out on any writing updates or news about new book releases!

This Thursday, D.M. Sonntag joins us for an author interview!

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What are some of your current reads? I’d love to know who your favorite indie authors are and always welcome ideas for books and authors to feature on my blog!

Alexandria

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An Interview With C.D. Hulen

I’m so excited to share my interview with C.D. Hulen as we continue to celebrate the recent release of his sci-fi novel, Abort!

Read on to learn more about the inspiration for Abort, C.D. Hulen’s advice for fellow indie authors, and his thoughts on how to include a powerful, faith-based message in novels!

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I really enjoyed reading your novel! What inspired the story of Abort?

Thanks so much! Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what inspired me, outside of God of course (as all things work according to His will). This particular story concept came to me almost fully formed, which wasn’t super common for me. I thought it would make a good book, so I wrote down the idea and then promptly forgot about it for about 6 months. But obviously, I found it again, and here we are. 

One common pro-life argument that is used to confront abortion is that of comparing unborn children to people in a coma who are going to wake up (both are dependent on others, neither are highly responsive, and both are in their respective states for a limited amount of time, i.e., the person in a coma will wake up and the child will be born). This particular argument was definitely an inspiration. After the initial stages of writing, I drew inspiration from other sources, such as my Christian faith, my Dad’s suggestions, Ray Comfort’s videos on abortion, and Paul Washer’s articulation of the gospel, in order to add more depth to the story.

Throughout the story, Mason wrestles with divided loyalties and the distinction between right and wrong. Was he a difficult character to write? What do you think makes characters like him so compelling?

Definitely one of the most difficult things about writing Mason was keeping the reader from being completely disgusted by him. What he’s trying to do is terrible, and readers generally don’t want to root for that, so it was a struggle to balance the sympathetic aspects of his character without excusing his actions. I think his relatability and understandability help make him compelling. Although the reader hopefully won’t agree with his mission, they can understand why he’s doing it, and can relate to the many trials he faces on the HS10.

Christian sci-fi isn’t a genre that I, personally, hear much about, and it was exciting to read your novel! What about sci-fi do you believe uniquely positions the genre to share a faith-based message?

There’s definitely not much Christian sci-fi in mainstream media—none in film that I’ve seen, and not a ton in literature. But anyway, I think science fiction can be uniquely poised to tackle current issues as well as delve into compelling allegories. The concept of Abort was perfectly setup for a science fiction setting—I didn’t even consider another genre! I also believe that with science fiction you have something that Fantasy can struggle with—a real presentation of the gospel. This can be done in contemporary and historical fiction for sure, but fantasy generally relies heavily on gospel allegories if it wants to approach the Christian theme (Jesus). Science fiction has the privilege of dealing with the real thing.

What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced as a self-published author and what enabled you to overcome them? Do you have any encouragement to offer fellow writers who want  to follow that same route?

I think the battle against anonymity has been the hardest. I can learn how to write good prose, design a book cover, and develop compelling characters, but as an author who started with zero platform, it’s been challenging. I think what’s to be learned is that it’s all up to God. If He wants the book to go far, it will. If not, it won’t. I have to hold my dreams loosely, trust His plan, and be faithful. If the marketing of this book has taught me anything it’s that God is in control.

A note of practical advice for writers: keep writing, keep getting feedback, and write again. It’s a long slog sometimes, but the more you do it, the better you get. And if you’re a Christian who is writing fiction, don’t tack your faith onto it. What I mean is that the gospel isn’t an afterthought, so if you’re a Christian and writing a story, don’t force the gospel into it, allow it to permeate the entire thing. Don’t sprinkle the gospel onto your story, soak your story in the gospel. All or nothing. Don’t be afraid to be preachy but tell a good story, make it real, and give it over to God.

Can you share any details with readers about your current or upcoming projects?

Well, I don’t want to share too much, but I’ve always got story ideas in my head. People who’ve followed me for a while know that I’ve wanted to write a musical, as well as refurbish and finish my historical fantasy trilogy. I also have some more Christian sci-fi stories brewing which address the current issues of the woke church and Christless conservatism. All that to say, I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, but whatever it is, I want God to be glorified.

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Thank you so much to C.D. Hulen for joining me for this interview!

You can connect with him on his website, Instagram, and Goodreads to stay up-to-date on his writing journey!

Abort is available on Amazon.

Alexandria

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Book Review: Abort

Happy Release Day to C.D. Hulen and his brand-new novel, Abort!

This is a science-fiction adventure unlike any other, and I’m thrilled to share my review below (and an interview with the author later this week)!

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When Commander Mason Wyatt wakes up on a starship, he has more questions than answers.

Discovering his mission should have been a comfort, but the clock is ticking to complete it, and Mason finds himself stuck with a partner who is asking difficult questions, questions that unsettle his understanding of right and wrong and that put his precarious reputation at further risk.

When he first awoke on the starship, Mason thought the most important thing was to complete the mission, but as time runs short, he must decide if he even has the right to do what the mission demands…

C.D. Hulen has created a masterful, stand-alone sci-fi novel that is both a thrilling adventure through space an intriguing exploration into a character’s struggle with right and wrong.

With a faith-based perspective that effortlessly permeates the entire story, Abort is a novel that will both entertain and challenge readers, and it’s certainly an adventure that they’ll never forget.

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Abort is available on Amazon!

Be sure to add Abort on Goodreads and leave a review once you’ve finished reading! It’s one of the best ways to support authors!

This Thursday, I’ll be sharing an interview with C.D. Hulen.

Reading a few more good books until then,

Alexandria

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Blog Tour: Anelthalien by H.A. Pruitt

Have you ever read a book that left you with the feeling that you’ve never encountered anything like it before?

For me, that book is Anelthalien by fellow author, H.A. Pruitt.

This story is something special, friends.

It follows four young, reluctant heroes – Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew – all of whom are looking for something different, longing for an escape. As they travel through an unfamiliar land – encountering friends, questions, and mysteries – each of them must decide if they will accept their role as heroes or turn their backs on Anelthalien and its people altogether. It’s a thrilling and powerful adventure!

But, perhaps, even more remarkable than the journey the characters go on is the wonder this story works on every single one of its readers.

While journeying through Anelthalien alongside the four heroes, I witnessed true courage.

I was reminded of what patience (even with the most seemingly unloveable) looks like.

I encountered the Savior and learned what being a hero truly requires.

And I emerged better for it.

All because of a courageous woman who was simply willing to pen the words of Anelthalien exactly as God gave them to her.

What a remarkable gift that I can never properly thank her or God for.

Pick up this book, fellow readers, because Anelthalien isn’t only something different; it’s something altogether rare.

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What an honor and joy to be part of this blog tour that celebrates one of my very favorite books and authors!

Grab a copy of Anelthalien for yourself and a friend, and get ready for the next installment of the journey, Earth Quaking, releasing June 30th! I can’t wait!

Connect with H.A. Pruitt on Instagram and her website to follow her writing (and guinea pig) adventures! I’ve been so blessed to get to know her, and you will be, too! 🙂

Tomorrow, Erica Richardson is continuing the celebration of Anelthalien!

Wishing you happy reading,

Alexandria

Giveaway: Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves

🌹 GIVEAWAY! 🌹

I’m so excited to announce the second giveaway for my new book, Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!

One person will receive an art print of this exclusive illustration that will not be found anywhere else!

This is from one of my favorite scenes in the story, and I hope it comes to mean as much to you as it does to me ❤

How To Enter:

🌹 Pledge to the Kickstarter!

That’s all there is to it! Everyone who has already pledged is entered and good to go!

The Details:

This giveaway is not affiliated with WordPress or Kickstarter. Void where prohibited. U.S. only

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me so far! I’m so grateful, and I’m expectant for all that’s to come for Chip’s story and those who go on the journey with him!

Alexandria

What Makes It Hard To Believe?

What makes it hard for you to believe that God hears and cares about your prayers?

For me, it’s the waiting. It’s so hard, isn’t it?

Like the impatient anticipation of waiting for a flower to bloom, waiting for a prayer to be answered or a longing to be satisfied is so difficult.

It can feel long and painful and desperate.

Hopeless.

As if God is silent or indifferent to our prayers.

But I don’t believe He is.

Still, we wrestle and we wonder.

Much like a young rabbit named Chip, who’s desperate to know if his cries are heard.

Who isn’t satisfied to sit still and just wonder.

Who’s willing to brave the most dangerous and thrilling of adventures to find out what he’s most desperate to know:

Does God hear our prayers? Do they even really matter to Him at all?

Wouldn’t you like to know the answer, too?

Follow the link in my bio to join Chip on a marvelous adventure through the land of Almea and find the answer for yourself…

The Kickstarter project for Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves is 47% funded!! Hurray! 

There are just 14 days left to reach my goal, and I would so appreciate your support!

If 25 people gave $50, we could reach the goal and bring Chip’s adventure to readers together!

Will you help me?

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported and encouraged me! I’m thankful for each one of you!

Waiting for the adventure to begin,

Alexandria

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A Colorist’s Delight!

Calling Colorists of All Ages!

Did you know that Chip’s adventure isn’t really complete until you bring it to life with colors?

I’ve drawn the illustrations, but now it’s your turn, friends!

Whether you’re coloring crazy or picking up a glitter gel pen for the very first time, an adventure is beginning, and it all starts with you!

Head to the Kickstarter to join Chip as he travels through the land of Almea, searching for a great treasure and the answer to his prayers!

And an enormous thank you to my sweet mom, Penelope Grace, fellow author Erica Richardson and her sweet kiddos, and fellow author Niki Florica for bringing my illustrations into such brilliant color!

I’m so thankful for all of you! ❤