Katie Clark disguise

The Secret Life of Katie Clark

Katie ClarkKATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes young adult speculative fiction, including her upcoming YA supernatural, Shadowed Eden. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

I met Katie when he dystopian trilogy was releasing. Sometimes dystopian fiction all runs together for me, but there were aspects of Katie’s stories that still swirl in my brain.The main character’s mother’s sickness, for one. I think I’d like to go back and read the series again.  

Enslaved banenr

I’m pleased to host Katie on the blog today and can’t wait for you to get to know her secrets…

Besides writing, what is your secret passion?

OK, this is a little embarrassing, depending on who I’m talking to, but…I am a Disney fanatic. I don’t mean that I like watching Disney movies and visiting Disney World. I mean that I spend big bucks on Disney World guide books, I obsessively “pin” Disney stuff on Pinterest, I can tell you just about anything about every Disney movie ever made, and I am ALWAYS in the process of planning another Disney vacation (even if it’s all just a pipe dream). Yes, I am a Disney-aholic. I am not ashamed.


What do you find most interesting about Disney?

Everything! I love the magic and fantasy, but there’s more than that. I love the feeling of childhood wander. I love the lighting around the Disney parks (did I just say I loved the lighting? Yeah, I might be a bit odd). I even love Walt Disney’s life story.

I actually program lights for our church, so appreciate that you love the lights. It’s fun to make them dance, or place beams just so, or use color to accentuate things. I’ve only been to Disney (World) once, but it was a magical place. Partly because it was so clean, and partly because they have moving a lot of people around down to a science.

What are some common misconceptions people have about Disney?

So many people think Disney is only for kids. It’s totally not! (can I just say, “Nanny nanny boo boo”?)

Give us the skinny – what are some interesting facts about Disney that most people don’t know?

Oooo, you mean I get to show off my Disney knowledge? OK, let’s see. The characters at Disney World will carry on full blown conversations with you—as their characters. You want to tell Gaston how self-absorbed he is? He will totally flirt with you (but not in a creepy way). Want to ask Belle about her favorite book? She’ll happily tell you all about it!


And there’s more! Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a roller coaster called Expedition Everest that has been called one of the best roller coasters in the country. And at Disney’s Epcot you can taste Coca Cola from around the world—for free!

But the history of Disney is so much richer than just the Disney parks. Walt Disney’s story is truly fascinating (at least to me!).

Yep, you’re a fangirl all right. ;) How do you balance writing, Disney, and your private life?

Now, that is where my *love* for Disney does get embarrassing. There are times I have to FORCE myself to stop searching out Disney World deals and get back to writing. I’m like a kid with a video game when it comes to Disney.


Does your obsession ever sneak into your writing?

Sadly, no. Disney has no place in my own fantastic tales. Sigh.

Maybe one day. Try wishing on a star. ;)

Katie Clark disguise

Thanks for sharing with us today, Katie! I’ve got Shadowed Eden all cued up on my kindle and ready to read.

ShadowedEden_ws11813_750Avery Miles is ready to spread her wings and prove her worth on a church mission trip to Iraq, but when their entourage gets blown off course in a desert dust storm, the group is lost in an inexplicable garden oasis. Along with the luscious fruits and crystal springs, Avery and her friends find poisonous snakes, deadly sink holes, and a group of natives that are almost unearthly–but that’s not their biggest problem. No matter which way they trek, they can’t seem to leave.

 To keep the group safe, Avery steps up and takes charge, but it isn’t long before she realizes things aren’t as they seem. She isn’t the only one seeing the mysterious boy named Rae, and she’s pretty sure her father is sabotaging her rescue efforts. Gathering her courage, Avery must decide what’s most important to her–finally winning her father’s approval, or getting out of the jungle for good.

NOW YOU: Have you ever been to a Disney theme park? What did you think? 

Titus Secret ID

The Secret Identity of H.A Titus


H.A., or Heather as I know her, is one of the most unassuming people you will ever meet. We’ve been running in the same circles for a while now, but it was only recently that we realized we weren’t FB friends. We rectified that immediately, of course!

Heather’s debut novel, Forged Steel, released earlier this year. I haven’t head a chance to read it yet, but it’s on my list. :) Here’s the blurb:

Forged Steel cover

Downtown. Coffee shop. 2 AM.

One minute, Josh is firing off sarcastic remarks at his best friend Marc – the next, they’re running from shape-shifters. Apparently, even best friends don’t share all their secrets.

Now Josh is in danger. He can see the monsters among the humans.
When Marc is kidnapped, Josh finds himself pulled into the schemes of the fae courts, and throws in his lot with Marc’s allies: the lovely Larae, a human named David, and the fighter, Eliaster. But what began as a rescue mission becomes something much more involved…

And all Josh wants to do is get out before it’s too late.

Without further ado, let’s learn all of Heather’s secrets…

Besides writing, what takes up your time?

A lot of folks are surprised to find this out about me, but over the last couple of years, I’ve begun to mountain bike (weather permitting, which means May-September in Michigan). I’m not a big fan of sweating, working out really hard, heights (although I occasionally rock climb too), or even doing risky stuff, but for some reason, mountain biking is something I will willingly do over and over again, even if I’m privately cussing myself out during the actual ride! ;)


My husband loves to mountain bike! He hasn’t been able to do it since he got in a freak bike-dog-bus accident and broke his elbow though. I’m not coordinated enough to even try. :(

What do you find most interesting about mountain biking?

There’s a lot to it–challenging myself to try new trails, working hard to keep up with my biking buddies–but my favorite part is the downhill (of course!) portion of the ride. ;) That’s not to say it’s the easiest–downhill still has a lot of hazards, and every single time I’ve wiped out, it’s been on the downhill part of the trail, but the speed and even some of the small jumps are a ton of fun. There’s always something new to learn every time I go out, even if I’m riding the same trail over and over again (which, I admit, is my tendency, because it’s my favorite trail.)

What are some common misconceptions people have about mountain biking?

“You have to be in super good shape for that!” Eh, not really. I’m fit, but not as fit as I could be. I’m certainly not in “super good” shape, I’m just in decent shape and really, really stubborn.

“You mountain bikers are all nuts! Just adrenaline junkies looking for another thrill!” Nope. I’m most definitely not an adrenaline junkie. Ask my husband. It took me a dozen times of riding the same trail to even work up the nerve to try a small jump, and I’ve been known to skip sections of trail or walk my bike on areas that I’m nervous about. I definitely prefer to err on the side of caution.

You forgot that you don’t actually have to have a mountain to mountain bike! We live in Houston = no mountains. ;)

Give us the skinny – what are some interesting facts about your hobby that most people don’t know?

You don’t need special gear, just a bike and a helmet. I started riding on my cheap $80 WalMart bike. Now, granted, it’s a LOT easier now that I have a more expensive bike that’s actually made for the kind of rough terrain I’m riding, but you don’t have to invest in that right away. It’s nice, because it’s something you can try a bit before committing yourself with expensive gear.

How do you balance writing, biking, and your private life?

It’s a bit easier since mountain biking is so darn hard. I couldn’t go every single day, because then I’d never be able to walk! :P But it can be difficult sometimes, because it’s not just a hobby where I can pick up and go whenever I want–I have to have someone to go with (I’m not proficient enough that I feel safe by myself out on the trails), and if I’m going with my husband, I have to find care for our son.

Earlier this year, we were going about once a week with friends, while their kids watched our son. That was a nice balance. But then life got hectic (and I got pregnant!) ;) We’re hoping next summer to try to get back to the once-a-week rides, because it really was a fun time.

Oh wow! Congratulations. I didn’t know you were pregnant. Mountain biking is definitely NOT something you should do while pregnant.

Does your hobby ever sneak into your writing?

Some of the scenery definitely does! And sometime, I’m hoping to give a character the hobby of mountain-biking…I’m just waiting for the right character to come along. Unftounately, it’s not a very writing-useful hobby. ;)

Thanks for dropping by today, Heather. I can’t wait to read your book.

Titus Secret IDYou can connect with Heather at:

NOW YOU: Have you gone mountain biking? Like it, hate it? What is the most extreme sport you’ve ever tried?
Tiered Books in Review Logo

My (not so secret) love affair

I like to read. A lot.

I like the texture of books and their aroma. I like the feelings libraries and bookstores evoke – peace, possibility, and luxury. I enjoy the crispy sound of turning pages.

I even like e-readers: the way I can carry hundreds of ebooks with me wherever I go. The fact that they don’t fatigue my fingers or weigh as much as hardback novels. The fact that sometimes I try to turn their pages because I’m so lost in the story.

I love listening to stories while driving in the car, especially when read by someone who adds another dimension to the stories themselves. Narrators such as Jim Dale (Harry Potter series and The Night Circus) and Will Patton (The Raven boys series).

I love the way different authors string words and ideas together to create strange and sometimes impossible worlds. Scenarios larger than life. What ifs I don’t have to live to experience.

And I love data and keeping track of things, too. So…

I’m trying something new. I have been challenged to find an original way to review books. In answer, I’ve come up with Tiered Books in Review. :)

This system will make me keep track of what I’ve read each month and then create a pyramid of sorts for the books. My favorite goes on the top tier, then tier 2 are other five-star reviews, tier 3 are 4-star, etc. Here is October’s Tier:

October's Tier


Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – Urban Fantasy

Oh my. The writing. NO ONE writes like Maggie Stiefvater.

Despite the profanity (lots) and the subject (fortune telling, future divination), this urban fantasy is amazing. Three books into the series and I don’t want it to stop (but I do want to read the next one!!)

Fantastically complex characters and plot. I “read” this one in audio book and the narrator,Will Patton, does a tremendous job. His voices add another dimension to the characters and story.

2nd Tier:

The Selection by Kiera Cass – YA/dystopian

I had this book forever but hadn’t read it. My daughter told me she loved it, so I went ahead and picked it up. Then I couldn’t put it down. Thoroughly enjoyed this Cinderella story.

Impervious by Heather Letto – YA/dystopian

3rd Tier:

The Hive by John Otte – Science Fiction

Girl, Stolen by April Henry – YA Contemporary

The Field by Lydia Thomas – Christian Allegory

4th Tier:

The Elite by Kiera Cass – YA/dystopian

The One by Kiera Cass – YA/dystopian

The Elite and The One are books 2 and 3 of The Selection series. I overall enjoyed them but got tired of the fickle love triangle and too convenient plot points.


Nadine Brandes: author, editor, and ?

The Secret Identity of Nadine Brandes

Nadine & Me - Dallas

Nadine & Me – Dallas

I had the pleasure of meeting Nadine prior to the launch of her first book, A Time to Die. Being a huge dystopian fan, I really wanted to read it. Thanks to social media, we became friends and now, here I am helping to launch A Time to Speak!


I love this series. The world and characters are complex, the struggle to find faith in the midst of suffering is woven organically, but most importantly, there is hope.

Let’s face it: we live in a dystopian society. Any culture on this side of eternity is dystopian. Some things shock us worse than others, and some things don’t shock us as much as they should. What sets a Christ-follower apart from the rest of the world is the fact we have hope. That doesn’t mean we don’t suffer. That doesn’t mean we have all the answers, but that does mean that we know Someone who does. :)

unnamedBut enough of my soapbox. Let’s learn more about Nadine!

Besides writing, what is your secret identity?

You expect me to tell you? ;-)

Okay, since you asked… My secret identity is…[dramatic music]…adventuring. I go on adventures, and/or brainstorm adventures almost as much as I brainstorm new stories.

Adventures can be anything from road-tripping through Europe or chasing a boxcar train, to eating raw potatoes or trudging through knee-deep snow in a fur-lined skirt.

Hiking in her Parvin skirt

Hiking in her Parvin skirt

What do you find most interesting about adventuring?

The fact I get to explore the world and experience life in unique ways that I would have missed had I not been intentionally pursuing an adventure.

Another aspect is that it takes a lot more bravery than I would have expected. I was raised as a traveler – my dad is a pilot and taught my siblings and me how to focus on where we’re going instead of what we’re leaving. But even with that, the unknown is deliciously intimidating.

It seems like you travel all the time. Where have you been?

Riding a sleeper train in Russia

Riding a sleeper train in Russia

If you’re talking about outside the U.S. then I’ve been quite blessed enough to travel a lot. I’ve been to:
-Russia, Korea, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Panama, England, Scotland, France, Finland, Iceland, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, and several islands (Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, etc.)

A castle town in Germany

A castle town in Germany

Crikey! That’s a bunch of places. I’ve been to Mexico, France, Germany, Greece, and Turkey but you certainly have me beat! 

How did it come about that you traveled to all these places? Were they all vacations or something else? Are you a spy?

Nadine competing in the National Championships for Boardercross (2013)

Nadine competing in the National Championships for Boardercross (2013)

Many places I traveled were for ministry purposes (Russia, Korea, Mexico, etc) and a few were for vacations. I traveled to England, Scotland, and Finland because I was attending a Bible college in England for one semester. It’s much easier to travel to many places when you’re already living in Europe. Everything’s so much closer.

My dad is a pilot and an adventurer, too. He took us on a lot of trips when we were younger, teaching us how to sail, scuba dive, fly airplanes, rock climb, navigate airports that are in different languages…I learned it all from him. ;)

Wow. So what’s on your bucket list? Where do you want to go that you haven’t visited yet?

I’d love to go to Italy someday because it’s part of my heritage. And…for personal bookish reasons, I’d love to visit Antarctica briefly.
Other things on my bucket list to do include Skydiving, going on an alpine slide, riding a bike in Amsterdam, and riding the Trans Siberian Rail across all of Russia.

What are some common misconceptions people have about your traveling?

They think I must have a bottomless bank account. :P But really, an adventure doesn’t always mean traveling to a new country or dropping a few grand on some crazy adventure. Last year I did the #Walk30Days challenge where I walked every day for 30 days and took a picture each day. That was an adventure because I was discovering life in a new way.

Adventuring doesn’t mean going It means doing something new or different. (From Nadine’s English Dictionary)

Give us the skinny – what are some interesting facts about your hobby that most people don’t know?

It’s easy to do! Some people think adventuring takes a huge time or money commitment. But just take a step out your door and turn left instead of right! Read an entire book while sitting outside instead of inside. Find out what your friends’ hobbies are and join them one day. Adventuring is easy. The only thing EASIER is choosing not to do it. ;-)

People are totally willing to help you make an adventure. I got to go dogsledding for a full day because I asked people in my church if they knew a place I could do it. Sure enough, a great friend had connections. Voila!

Dogsledding. Only Nadine!

Dogsledding. Only Nadine!

How do you balance writing, work, adventuring, and your private life?

I always check in on my priorities, and then organize around that. God and hubby trump writing and adventuring. The two can go hand in hand, because most of my adventures either stem from or feed into a story I’m writing. Also…hubby tends to join me on these adventures. :)

Does your hobby ever sneak into your writing?

Going through the Panama Canal on a 40-ft sailboat (2015)

Going through the Panama Canal on a 40-ft sailboat (2015)

Um…YEAH! Sometimes, when I’m on an adventure (like being a seacook on a 40-foot sailboat from North Carolina to the Bahamas) I’ll write scenes that I experience and then I’ll build a scene in a story around that.

Or it’ll got the other way around. I’ll be writing a scene and won’t get it detailed to my liking, so I’ll see if I can go live it out (like rock climbing a cliff face, or wading through a cattail marsh…see A Time to Die.)

Toothless and Parvin at Realm Makers in St. Louis

Toothless and Parvin at Realm Makers in St. Louis

Nadine was shy, so I had to enlist a couple of friends to help make the trailer for book 3 (thanks Gretchen and Emilie!). Who’s ready to read A Time for Interpretive Dance?

Connect with Nadine:

Book links:

NOW YOU: Have you been out of the country? If so, where? Favorite adventure? Bucket list place to visit?


The Power of Football

I’m a Texan. Born here, went to college here, still live here. When the air turns crisp and no one can breathe because of all the ragweed in the air, something magical happens.


Football is a religion in Texas. You can worship Friday night (high school), all day Saturday and sometime Thursday night (college), and Sunday and Monday (pros). People change which church service they attend depending on what time the Texans/Cowboys play on Sunday. Out of town trips revolve around away games. Children are banished to the upstairs TV so parents can eat chips and queso and yell for their team. And if the game is really big, sometimes you don’t invite other people over so that you can be grumpy and yell at the refs and coaches without anyone to witness your bad behavior.

What is it about football or any other professional sport that inspires such fantastic fanatics?

Read more on The Scriblerians: The Power of Football


Called to Speak on Truth

I’m proud to be part of the Blog Hop promoting A Time to Speak. This hop is to encourage myself and others to speak out for our passions and against injustice.

It is also to spread the word about Nadine Brandes’s new dystopian novel, A Time to Speak, second in the Out of Time series, and sequel to the award-winning A Time to Die. The ebook is available now, the paperback releasing soon.

Hashtag-Called2Speak-2 (1)

Friends, we live in a world where Truth is shrouded in a lie called relativity. This lie is predicated on “tolerance,” an oxymoron in and of itself the way our culture uses it today.


Truth is NOT something to one person, and something else to another. Truth does NOT depend on our perspective. Truth is NOT a dress that is white/gold to some and blue/black to others. Truth is NOT something that we get to define. Truth was established by our Creator.

Can you hear my passion? ;)

It makes my heart sad when I hear Christians say, “How do I know that this Mormon/Jehovah’s Witness isn’t really a Christian? I see the things they do and the love they have for others. They say they believe in Jesus. It sounds to me like they’re a Christian.”

Friends, be very careful that in trying to love others that you yourself are not misled! This very problem was something that the early church in Corinth experienced. Paul wrote to them and said,

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. ~2 Corinthians 11:4

On the surface, Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim they worship God and Jesus the Son of God. When you dig deeper, you realize that their definitions for Jesus are not the same as God’s.

Mormons believe that Jesus was the first spirit child of the Father and one of his unnamed wives based on Psalm 2:7. “Jesus, as a spirit son, progressed by obedience and devotion to the truth in the spirit world until he became a God. Prior to his incarnation on earth, Jesus was Jehovah of the Old Testament.” (borrowed from The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions by Ron Rhodes)

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus is a “son of God” the same way that angels are all “sons of God.” They don’t consider him THE Son of God. In fact, they believe that Jesus and the Archangel Michael are the same person.

For new converts to Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witness, who knows what they believe in their heart of hearts? But they have stepped off the path leading to the one true God. Loving others as you love yourself means sharing the Truth with them.

Remember, the apostle Paul, back when he was still called Saul, was such a zealot for God that he went around finding Christians and having them put to death. He thought what he was doing was FOR God! He thought he was right and upholding the law. Thankfully, God saw his heart and showed him the truth.

If you’re a Christian, stop claiming that Mormons or JW might be right!

Let us agree to speak the truth about God and hold one another accountable. Let us cling strongly to the true gospel and not be clouded in this culture of relativity and tolerance.

There is only one Truth, and His name is Jesus. 

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6


Interested to know how others are #Called2Speak? Check out other stops on the blog hop:

9.28.15 – Gretchen Engel

9.30.15 – Nadine Brandes

10.01.15 – Jason Joyner

10.05.15 – Gretchen Engel (part 2)

10.06.15 – Tricia Mingerink

10.08.15 – Gretchen Engel (Scriblerians)

10.09.15 – Emilie Hendryx

10.11.15 – Janeen Ippolito

10.12.15 – Zachary D Totah

10.14.15 – Brittany Valentine

10.15.15 – Andrew Swearingen

10.17.15 – Megan Besing

10.19.15 – Angel Roman

10.20.15 – Charles Franklin

10.21.15 – Lisa Godfrees

10.23.15 – Shantelle Hannu

10.27.15 – Natalie Walters

10.29.15 – The Artist Librarian

11.02.15 – Rosalie Valentine

11.17.15 – Amanda Fender


Enter to win a signed copy of A Time to Speak, the book that was the inspiration for this post.


What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

Book Two in the “Out of Time” series. Read about the first book, A Time to Die, here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NOW YOU: What are you passionate about? If you could speak about anything, what would it be?


The Secret Life of TLC Nielsen

Welcome to the second post in our wonderfully weird world of writers. Allow me to introduce Tracey “TLC” Nielsen.

Chief MsTery RealmMakers15

Besides writing, what is your secret identity (day job and hobby)?

I’m a library worker by day, a jazz trombonist by night and a writer sandwiched somewhere in the middle. I’ll reveal my true secret identity a little bit later. One hint: it has to do with books!

lfestival 006

Tracey playing the trombone during a concert in Italy

What do you find most interesting about being a librarian?

I love books, I help kids find books and I like writing books. The library is filled with all kinds of books so I think I have a great job. Plus I get to design interesting programs for kids of all ages. I have way too much fun at the library! And I haven’t even talked about the computer lab, which can be fun in a completely different way.

What are some common misconceptions people have about librarians?

For some reason, people still think you have to whisper in the library. In the kids department, we don’t like running or screaming but we’re pretty chill about normal conversations and kids having fun.

Give us the skinny – what are some interesting facts about librarians that most people don’t know?

Chief Ms.Tery, Head of GAPLD Novel Detectives

Chief Ms.Tery, Head of GAPLD Novel Detectives

My job as an assistant youth services librarian at GAPL has a secret component to it but you can’t tell anyone I told you. I’m also known as Chief Ms.Tery, Head of the Novel Detectives Group. We uncover good books no matter where they hide. We even have secret agents who go undercover searching for a few good books.

Another fact no one seems to know is that your library is a limitless place – if our library doesn’t have the CD, DVD or book you are looking for, we can probably interlibrary loan it from another library. Plus, you can take your library card and use it anywhere in our state if you take a few moments to register it. I’m registered in at least 7 libraries so far in Illinois.

How do you balance writing, work/hobby, and your private life?

Balance, you ask? I think I do a form of weaving, running from event to event and jotting down stories along the way. I spend a lot of time practicing music, hanging out with my family and attending as many family events as I can handle. I’m proud to say I’m a 10 Minute Novelist, writing in 10 minute chunks of time, which helped me finish the rough draft of my first Teen Fantasy book this year.

Does the library ever sneak into your writing?

TLC Jedi

Library Jedi – May the 4th

Definitely, my job and my life sneak into my stories. Some of the characters in my novel talk about books and one book they mentioned took my story in a whole other direction. As for life stuff, one of my characters became a “toothsayer” for their job at a time when I had to visit a lot of dentists. Even fictional characters go to the dentist.

Thanks, Lisa, for hosting me. My blog, The Extraordinary Ordinary, can be found at http://www.lookandbe.blogspot.com and I interview ordinary folks with extraordinary life stories. I’m occasionally on Twitter as Read2Mii2, mainly for library-ish events.


3 new books you don’t want to miss!

  1. A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes


Christian dystopian (yes, it’s a real genre) at it’s best. All the dystopian complexity and survival thrill you love but interlaced with the hope that the world needs.

ATimetoDieCovA Time to Speak is the second in the Out of Time series. Book 1, A Tie to Die, has garnered several awards and A TIME TO SPEAK is even better. You don’t want to read Book 2 without having already read Book 1, so if you’re looking for a fantastic series, check out A Time to Die and go ahead and pick up a copy of A Time to Speak while you’re at it. I dare you to be disappointed.

What happens when you live longer than you wanted to? 

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

2.  The Hive by John Otte

The Hive Official Cover

Ever read a science fiction book written by a Lutheran minister? No? Well now’s your chance! (Check out the interview with John Otte if you don’t believe me.)

Numb-Front-Cover-Smaller-194x300The Hive is a companion novel to Numb, but not a sequel so you can read them in any order. Set in the same world, one that feels like a mesh of Star Wars and Star Trek combined, we meet an unexpectedly pregnant cyborg. She’s part of a collective that’s similar to Star Trek’s The Borg, but better and more individualistic,. When she gets separated from her hive, she must find her own way home. Creative with some very memorable characters, I think you’ll enjoy this one.


A pregnant cyborg and a teenage boy fight against intergalactic governments to protect the unborn in this novel from a Christy Award-nominated author. Why is Zain pregnant? She belongs to the Hive, a collective of cyborgs who choose to live apart from the rest of human society. At times, the Hive rent out some of their females to produce tailor-made children for paying couples. But Zain is an engineer, not a breeder. When she finds herself separated from the Hive, she decides to find the person who she thinks ordered the baby. Surely they’ll help her find her way home.

Matthew “Scorn” Nelson has spent the better part of his teenage years cracking computer systems, causing mischief and havoc wherever he can. But the night of his greatest triumph turned into a painful memory, one he wants to erase. But that night was also his first step on a road to faith. When Zain arrives on his doorstep, Scorn is horrified. What’s he supposed to do with a pregnant teenage cyborg?

Unfortunately, he’ll have to answer that question on the run. Zain’s people want to reclaim her and terminate her pregnancy. And both the Ministrix and the Praesidium, two intergalactic governments in a constant state of cold war, want Zain’s baby for their own reasons. Will their enemies run them down? Or will Zain find a new Hive for both her and her child?

3. Embers by Ronie Kendig


I haven’t read Embers yet, but I’m excited because since it’s releasing today, it will automatically show up on my kindle so I can. :) Ronie Kendig is the author of several books, but this is her first foray into fantasy. I can’t wait to get my hands on Embers. Here’s the teaser:


Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are royal heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but Haegan is physically crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the kingdom has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?

Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-harnessing abilities to Haegan. When she does, it comes with a terrible price: Haegan’s disability is healed, but only by being transferred to Kaelyria. This act unleashes their father-king’s wrath.

Haegan must flee the kingdom alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for Kaelyria and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth.

TELL ME: Which one will you read first and why?

The Secret Identity of John Otte

John W Otte

I’m excited to introduce John Otte (rhymes with karate (I asked)) to you. I’ve read and enjoyed his novels Numb and Failstate (click for review), and I’m currently enjoying The Hive (review to come). For now, though, it’s time for us to get to know the author’s mild-mannered alter ego.

John, thanks for coming on the blog today! Tell us: when you’re not writing, what are you doing?

My secret identity is that of a Lutheran minister. More specifically, I’m a pastor in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, which is a pretty conservative denomination.PastorOtte

What do you find most interesting about being a Lutheran minister?

What I find really fun about my job is finding new ways to present ancient truths in a relevant way. For example, my denomination uses a pericopal system for Bible readings in worship. What that means is, there’s a set schedule for what gets read when. In most cases, that means that the same Biblical readings will show up every three years. Some even show up every year. That can be a bit of a challenge, because it means that you have to come up with new thoughts and new takes on the stories in a way that is meaningful and engaging. It can be a challenge, but I like that challenge a lot.


This year, our congregation’s theme is “Devoted” and we’re talking about the different parts of Christian living that we’re devoted to. So to kick off the entire theme, I dressed up as a rabid Minnesota Vikings fan.

What are some common misconceptions people have about ministers?

That I only work on Sundays. Seriously. I know that that’s an old joke about being a pastor, but I find a lot of people really do think that’s true. They can’t quite wrap their heads around the fact that it’s a 24/7 type of job. It takes a long time to put together sermons and Bible studies, to go visit people who are sick or shut-in, and that you’re on call pretty much all the time should your congregation need you.

Give us the skinny – what are some interesting facts about ministry that most people don’t know?

Well, in my case, I had to go to school for a long time to become a pastor. I not only had to earn a bachelor of the arts degree of some kind (in my case, it was in theatre), but I also then had to attend a seminary for three years of classwork and year-long internship my denomination calls a “vicarage.”

Also, it’s a requirement in my denomination that pastors study and learn both Biblical Greek and Hebrew so we can read the Bible in its original languages.

John Otte

Love the accidental antennae in this pic

Oh, and here’s another one! You know the traditional “pastor” outfit (black shirt with a white tab in the collar)? It’s symbolic of what the pastor’s job is. The black shirt represents the pastor’s sin, but the white tab or collar at his throat symbolizes that he speaks the Word of God.

How do you balance writing, ministry, and your private life?

Not very well, unfortunately. There are days when my day job pretty much precludes me doing any writing, simply because I’m too tired to get my mind to focus. I try to do at least a little writing every day, but that’s not always possible. It’s usually about finding a spare moment or two to get a few words down on the page.

Does being a Lutheran minister ever sneak into your writing?

FailstateAll the time, especially since I write Christian fiction primarily. There was one time, though, that really stands out. I was working with my editor on my debut novel, Failstate, and my editor wasn’t happy with one of the scenes toward the end of the book. The main character goes to church and, wouldn’t you know it, the pastor just happens to deliver a sermon that speaks directly to the problem that the character is facing! My editor rightfully labeled it a trope and a cliché and suggested that I change it.

Now I understood why he didn’t like that, but here’s the thing: I’ve seen this sort of thing happen in real life a lot. One of my parishioners will come out of worship and tell me, “Pastor, that sermon spoke directly to me” or “That’s exactly what I needed to hear” or even “Have you been reading my mind?” After talking about it, we left the scene in so long as I promised I wouldn’t do it again in later books.

What do your parishioners think of your books?

They’ve been mostly supportive. I actually had launch parties for my first two Failstate novels at my church, and many of my members bought copies of the books, which was funny, because the line to get the books was filled with grandmothers. Many of them would talk to me after reading it saying stuff like, “I never read books like that!”

Connect with John:

Twitter: @JohnWOtte

Don’t miss John’s latest book, The Hive, releasing on October 16th!

The Hive Official Cover

A pregnant cyborg and a teenage boy fight against intergalactic governments to protect the unborn in this novel from a Christy Award-nominated author.

Why is Zain pregnant? She belongs to the Hive, a collective of cyborgs who choose to live apart from the rest of human society. At times, the Hive rent out some of their females to produce tailor-made children for paying couples. But Zain is an engineer, not a breeder. When she finds herself separated from the Hive, she decides to find the person who she thinks ordered the baby. Surely they’ll help her find her way home.

Matthew “Scorn” Nelson has spent the better part of his teenage years cracking computer systems, causing mischief and havoc wherever he can. But the night of his greatest triumph turned into a painful memory, one he wants to erase. But that night was also his first step on a road to faith. When Zain arrives on his doorstep, Scorn is horrified. What’s he supposed to do with a pregnant teenage cyborg?

Unfortunately, he’ll have to answer that question on the run. Zain’s people want to reclaim her and terminate her pregnancy. And both the Ministrix and the Praesidium, two intergalactic governments in a constant state of cold war, want Zain’s baby for their own reasons. Will their enemies run them down? Or will Zain find a new Hive for both her and her child?