Review: UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY (Heartland Trilogy #1) by Chuck Wendig

under-the-empyrean-skyI picked up this book on Kindle purely because of a blog post by the author completely owning the fact that he had written about a character who was gay without homosexuality being used as a plot device or some sort of moral lesson. As someone who strives for the same diversity in her own writing, I knew I had to get the book based on that blog post alone. Continue reading


Review: SNOWED by Maria Alexander


Disclaimer: The author and I share a publisher, and I helped proofread this novel before publication.

If I had not been reading this novel on an expensive electronic device, I’d have thrown it across the room when I got to the ending. But not because it was a bad book. On the contrary, this book was such a fun adventure that the cliffhanger ending made me want to lose my mind. I did, however, accost the author to find out whether a sequel was forthcoming. Good news! One is definitely in the works. Continue reading

Author Interview: Jessica Knauss

Awash in TalentI was delighted to interview author Jessica Knauss in support of her new novel, Awash in Talent (now available in ebook and hardcopy).

About the Book

So much Talent can kill you.

Welcome to Providence, Rhode Island, home of telekinetics, firestarters, and psychics!

Emily can’t escape her annoyingly Talented telekinetic healer sister without committing a crime.

Kelly must escape her pyrokinesis school and bring Emily’s sister to Boston—her mother’s life depends on it.

Appointments with Emily might drive her psychic therapist insane.

With so much Talent, sometimes it’s all you can do to function in an un-Talented society.

When you first told me about this novel, you referred to it as “zany, hard-to-pin-down” and “Gilmore Girls with a paranormal twist.” As someone who also writes urban fantasy that defies categorization, I’m always interested in other authors’ reasons for doing the same. Why break away from the YA paranormal comfort zone that most readers are familiar with?

I don’t assign genres or categories to my work until it’s done and ready for readers. This can cause some head scratching, believe me! Many years ago, I heard Maya Angelou say that if we can’t find the book we want to read, we have to write it ourselves. I took that advice to heart. If something has been done before, why do it again? As a reader, I’m always searching for something different that will speak to me in a way nothing else has. I’ve set my sights on that elusive uniqueness as a writer. Continue reading

Guest Post: Andi Adams’ Suggested 5 Most Helpful Books on Writing

girl glass boxToday, author Andi Adams has stopped by to share her thoughts on some great craft books on writing. I’ve read a few of these, and I absolutely swear by the second book on her list!

Don’t forget to check out Adams’ new fantasy novel, The Girl in the Glass Box, to see how she puts her craft into practice.

Some people don’t believe in craft books. They say since writing has no rules and since writing is different for everyone, no one can really write a book on “how to” write. Which is true. However, as an English teacher for the past decade, I can attest to the fact that there are concepts and elements in which a writer must be well-versed in order to craft a strong story. Perhaps I can liken it to putting together a sculpture. You need good, strong materials, but what you come up with is all your own. But if you work with weak, shoddy materials, your sculpture is sure to fall apart. Get it? So though I agree that you can’t tell anyone how to write in an easy step-by-step guide, I also think that learning the fundamentals is a big part of a writer’s job. These are some of my favorite resources on writing. I’ve found them to be infinitely helpful at all stages of the writing process and I hope you do, too. Continue reading

YA Book Sale!

My friend Sherry Peters has put her two YA fantasy novels on sale for the month of June! The ebook versions are currently available for $0.99, pretty much everywhere.


Mabel Goldenaxe just doesn’t fit in with the other girl dwarves—and she likes it that way.

To please her father, and encouraged by her older brothers, she goes to work in the emerald mines. Still, she dreams of a better life—and becoming Gilliam’s top axe-throwing champion just might be her ticket out. Mabel is torn between her love of the sport—and her love for the elf Aramis. But loving an elf is forbidden.

Dealing with her overbearing family, jealous friends, and deep family secrets, Mabel will have to summon all her strength to conquer her fears and become her own dwarf—lovelorn or otherwise.

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Exiled from her family and everything she knows, Mabel Goldenaxe embarks on an adventure with her estranged Mam and the famous elf Aramis. In her new city of Leitham, a bustling metropolis where movies are made and female dwarves are free to choose their own paths, Mabel quickly discovers not everything is as perfect as it first appeared. Her desire to heal an axe-throwing injury turns disastrous and Mabel finds herself a pawn in the dealings of the Elven Mafia. Every choice she makes carries the threat of dire consequences for her newfound family. Can Mabel navigate the betrayal, missteps and intrigue to live the life she wants? Or will she be forever doomed to be a mafioso dwarf?

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sherry peters

Sherry Peters has lived most of her life in Winnipeg, Canada. She’s been writing stories from the time she held her first pencil. It was after reading L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables that Sherry knew she was destined to be a writer. Her first “chapter books” ranged in subject matter from the hijacking of the Space Shuttle to the re-animation of millions of dinosaur skeletons.

Childhood family vacations across North America stirred wanderlust and a desire for adventure. Among the trips that have had the most impact on her life and her writing was the year she spent living and working in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her writing adventures include attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop and earning an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

Her debut novel Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf placed first in the 2014 Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book awards for Middle Grade/YA, and was a nominee for the 2015 Aurora Award for best YA Novel.

Review: ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage


Gail Carriger’s foray into young adult fiction is set in the familiar world of her Parasol Protectorate series, but with a bit more…everything. Which is funny, because her adult series is pretty awesomely extreme all on its own. This novel drew much more from the steampunk genre than on the supernatural in regards to plot, with more focus on fantastical mechanical creations and devices and less on the political relationships between the worlds of humans, vampires, and werewolves. Unfortunately, all of the world-building backstory that a veteran Carriger reader might want is lost on the focus of adolescent characters and drama.

Because this is definitely a young adult novel, though I in no way mean that in a negative light. However, some young adult novels are called thus because the main characters happen to be younger than adults, and some young adult novels are intentionally targeted to younger readers. This book is the latter. Despite my love of the world and Carriger’s writing, I probably will not continue reading this particular series.

I would recommend this series specifically to middle school readers of either gender (though girls will probably relate more to the main character). I am content to anxiously await the sequel to Prudence!

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars.

Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.