Progress Report

Greeting fellow adventurers!

This month has flown by! We are packing for our trip to Minnesota as I pound out my word count for this month and get last minute things done around here before we leave. It’s been four years since I’ve been home. During the next couple of weeks I won’t be around much. Summer will be drawing to a close and then all the fall activities will start back up. So on to the progress report.

Book III News

  • As I write this, book three is at 20,000 words. It is coming a long nicely. Although, I have forgotten how rough a rough draft can be. Even though I am rewriting book three, it will be completely from scratch.
  • Kael has already found himself in some interesting predicaments…
  • I am REALLY missing Prince Vian right now.
  • I NEED a title for book three. It’s bugging me.

My Daughter’s Mural

I came to a stopping point. I have yet to add the puffy white clouds and possibly the little white flowers on the trees. But for now. I am done.

mural (2)

The Silmarillion Awards 2016

The fantasy-style awards have been announced! If you missed any of the posts, you can find the complete list below. Tomorrow there’s going to be a big to-do in cyberspace over the birthday of the Lord of the Rings. I won’t be around to celebrate, so I thought I’d celebrate tonight. Ha!

Happy Early Birthday!  

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The Best Redemption Story Silmaril

Before I hand this over to our esteemed host, I want to thank everyone who participated in the nomination process and for voting. We couldn’t do this without you. Again, THANK YOU!boromir (2)

If you’ve seen the hint on the nomination post, you will have most likely guessed who will be giving away the 2016 Silmarillion Award for Best Redemption Story.

He once tasted the bitter depths of darkness and wept. But he did not remain in such disgrace. Far be it! He rose to fight that others might live, and he paid the ultimate price to do so.

Eldest son of Denethor II. Steward Prince of Gondor, Captain and High Warden of the White Tower. Valiant Warrior.

Please welcome, Boromir!

Your words are too kind for a man like me, nevertheless, I am honored to present the 2016 Silmarillion award for Best Redemption Story.

silmaril-redemption-award-mediumOne does not simply give this award to just any story. No. This jewel can only go to one that demonstrates the great transformation of a character’s life. A character, misguided or otherwise, who rises from the darkest of pits to the glorious heights of victory, displaying integrity and virtue and all that is honorable, even if one’s victory is but celebrated beyond the grave.

The 2016 Best Redemption Story Silmaril, as voted on by you, goes to . . .

Edmund Pevensie of The Chronicles of Narnia!


Thank you Boromir! And thank you, dear readers, for joining us!

And if you would like to see the final nominated candidates and the votes went, here you go!

Edmund (The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe) 45 / 37%
Eustace Clarence Scrubb (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) 28 / 23%
Kalmar Wingfeather (Wingfeather Saga) 24 / 20%
Jace (The Ilyon Chronicles) 13 / 11%
Prince Lionheart (Tales of Goldstone Wood) 12 / 10%

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Candid with Candace: Surviving the Zombie Takeover

Today, I am excited to welcome Candace Marshall. When I heard about the zombie outbreak in Acción, I figured it would be best to be prepared. And what better way than to learn from a survivor? So I invited Candace to join us and share her secrets. I mean, after all, she is the bravest, fiercest warrior, who singlehandedly stopped the zombie apocalypse.

 Isn’t that right, Candace?

Who, me? *Looks around* Gavin put you up to this, didn’t he? That little—he—I—ahem. No, I wouldn’t exactly call what I did bravery. More like screaming, running, crying—can we skip this part?

Zombie Takeover_Kindle editionOh. . . Well. . .  Nevertheless, you survived and that’s what counts, right? So how DID you find yourself in such predicament? And what is the likelihood we could be in the danger of a zombie outbreak? Were these zombies your typical zombies?

Well, it all started with my boyfriend (who I am not speaking to, btw). He bought me these tickets to prescreen this horrible, awful zombie movie. I don’t do scary. At all. Well, the dude in charge mentioned it would be interactive—interactive. What was my boyfriend thinking?—and I pretty much bolted. Turns out it didn’t matter. The prescreening group was actually a test group, the drug turned on them, and bam. Insta-zombies. Got my tour anyway. (Grumble, grumble…) Typical zombies? I don’t know…I avoid all things horror-related, so it’s all new to me.

Since the zombie outbreak in Acción was the result of an experiment gone bad, is it possible that the zombie effect could be reversed, or is it pretty much hopeless—kill or be killed—type of a situation? And is it contagious?

That’s what we’re leaving Acción to find out. I mean, the only other guy who survived long enough to fill us in seems to think it’s everywhere and everyone is going to turn. So not going to happen. Not if I have anything to do with it.

Well. As I have heard it said, better safe than sorry! Right? So let’s talk about defense. I read somewhere that we should wear a tinfoil hat. You know, to protect our brains from becoming zombie lunch. Or something like that. Is that true? Or is that alien abduction? What other types of protective gear would you recommend? Can zombies smell us out? What would be the safest location during a zombie apocalypse?

Hmmm…I haven’t heard that one, but I have to admit I hadn’t heard anything about zombies till just a few days ago. (Going to kill my boyfriend whenever I find him alive and well.) So I’m getting a crash course in screaming while Gavin shoots. It’s pretty awesome. (No, not really…) The bullets do nothing, whacking them only knocks them down for them to jump back up—okay, “ooze back up” might be a more apt description—thank goodness they’re slow. Gavin thinks they’re getting faster, but I refuse to believe it. No way. Just…no way.

Gavin? Is he your boyfriend?

Oh! So sorry! I guess I should attempt to untangle that mess. Peter is—was?—my boyfriend. He disappeared after the zombie attack, after we had the world’s biggest fight, so I don’t know if he was turned or managed to escape. (As angry as I am with him right now, I wouldn’t wish zombie status on anyone, not even my worst enemy. Which, you know, he may very well be right now…interactive tour? Really? Moving on…) Gavin…Gavin Bailey…sigh. He’s this movie star—also happens to be my favorite movie star—who also was at the prescreening. (Still trying to figure out why exactly. I mean, my town is so small no one’s ever heard of it. Why would Gavin Bailey visit? Seriously? Still reeling.) So apparently he can shoot and fight and escape zombies better than anyone else—he’s pretty much the only reason I’m alive right now. I owe him everything, and I’m doing my best not to go all fan girl on him. That would be so embarrassing.

Ah, of course! We wouldn’t want THAT to happen, now would we? Alright, so let’s talk about offense. Gavin must have a plan, right? What would you say would be the best weapon in a battle of the undead? Do we need to stake their hearts like vampires? Do they even have hearts? Shoot them with silver bullets?

Sigh. I keep asking Gavin this, and he keeps laughing at me. Apparently I get it wrong. Every. Single. Time. And each time he starts to tell me how to off them, we get attacked. I’m so over it. All of it. I just want my nice, normal, boring life. Is that too much to ask?

My, well, I hope he gets around to telling you before it’s too late. I mean…you know. *cough* So after this is all over and you survive the Zombie Takeover, because we must have a positive attitude about this, right? What will you do? What do you look forward to the most?

I’m going to hug my brother, never speak to Peter again (after I make sure he’s all right), and move as far away from Acción as I can get. I have a few dreams I pushed to the side for Peter, and I might actually pursue them now. Can’t be any scarier than zombies, right?

Right! Sounds like a good plan to me!

Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was such a nice break from the running and the fighting and the—(we’ll just skip that part). I hope the zombies stay far away from you!

Thank you! I hope so too! And thanks for taking time away from all the running and fighting to give us a few tips! Any departing thoughts or questions for the rest of civilization?

What about you? Has anyone else survived to read this? If you’ve escaped the zombies, what are your tips for survival? I could really use them!


And there you have it folks! Candace Marshal surviving the Zombie Takeover. Do you have any tips for her? She could really use them. I don’t believe I was very helpful, since zombies aren’t exactly my thing either. But I do have a few swords. That could be useful, right?



I was the bravest, fiercest warrior, singlehandedly stopping the zombie apocalypse and earning the respect and admiration of those who fought with me. Just kidding. I pretty much peed my pants and wasted a ton of ammo. At least everyone else shot what they were aiming at. Me? Not so much. This is my story—me, Candace Marshall, the world’s biggest scaredy-cat, facing my biggest fear. Zombies. It was awesome. (As in, not at all.) 

Candace Marshall hates zombie movies. She hates anything scary, in fact. In his usual, not-so-thoughtful way, her boyfriend surprises her with advanced screening tickets to the latest zombie flick, complete with interactive features and a tour. She refuses to watch it, but it doesn’t matter. Horror becomes reality when an experiment gone wrong transforms her peaceful town into a mess of slathering zombies. Thrown together with the only other survivor, Gavin Bailey, her favorite actor and secret crush, she somehow fights her way through the mess, making plenty of blunders and surprising herself with…courage? But, just when Candace thinks it can’t get worse than zombies, it does.


Author Head Shot MicheleMichele Israel Harper spends her days as a stay-at-home mom and her nights typing away furiously on her laptop. Sleep? Sometimes… A member of the Heartland Christian Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, as well as the treasurer for the Indiana chapter of ACFW, Michele has her bachelor’s degree in History and can most often be found with her nose in a book when not chasing her two rambunctious boys or cuddling her new baby daughter. Visit her website at to learn more about her.


Amazon Author

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble

Thanks for joining us. Make sure you check out the rest of the book tour as well as the Facebook Party. The giveaways are sounding pretty epic BUT I can’t promise you they will be zombie free. Attend at your own risk! 

Blog Tour Schedule:

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Cover Reveal: A Time to Rise

I am excited to be able to join Nadine Brandes and her ninjas in revealing the cover to her third and final book in the Out of Time series! And there’s a giveaway! A set of those cute bookmarks AND a Goodreads giveaway for A Time to Speak!

So without further ado:

ATimetoRise_6_29 (1)

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?


Nadine Links:


And The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you haven’t read the first two books yet, now is a good time!


A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

AmazonBN-iconlogogoodreads icon


Plus there’s a giveaway going on right now for A Time to Speak over on Goodreads! Just click here and it will take you there!

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Voting Begins: Silmarillion Awards 2016

The time has come to vote for the first Silmarillion Awards for the best of the best in fantasy!


The awards:

  • Best Friend Silmaril
  • Most Heart Wrenching Death Scene Silmaril
  • Strangest Character Silmaril
  • Most Nefarious Villain Silmaril
  • Best Redemption Story Silmaril
  • Riddling and Poetry Silmaril
  • Best Fantasy Mount Silmaril
  • Most Epic Hero Silmaril
  • Wisest Counsellor Silmaril
  • Best Fantasy Weapon Silmaril

First off, I want to thank everyone who participated in the nomination process for The Best Redemption Story. It was fun to see all the comments coming in and the seconding getting quite out of hand. Ha! But never fear, I had them all tallied up nicely in Excel.


So without further ado, the top five nominations for the The Best Redemption Story Silmaril are as follows:

Edmond of the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
Eustace Clarence Scrubb from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis
Prince Lionheart of The Tales of the Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Jace from The Illyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight
Kalmar Wingfeather from the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

Below you will find the voting form and you will be able to vote on ALL the awards just by clicking on the Start Voting button. Voting ends July 14th! So go vote and then invite others to do so well!


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Updates & Camp NaNo!

Greetings fellow adventurers!

Before we dive into updates and all, have you nominated the best of the best in fantasy?

You can find the original post here along with the links to all the other award nomination posts as well. The nominations will close this Friday, July 1st.

And as I write this, Edmond from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is in the lead! Big time.

First thing I did was a put a new cover on it. 😀

So go nominate!!!! AND then we will begin voting Monday, July 4th! 

July?! Can you believe it is July already?

I finally got my planner! If you’ve read my Confessions of a Type A Creative, you will know what I’m referring to. Ha!

And I’ve crashed. After two years of diligent pushing forward and keeping on keeping on, I flat-lined. Brain is mush. I feel a bit anchorless without some sort of major deadline I am scrambling to keep. My routine is shot. Of course, that has something to do with the kiddos being home from school and all. Ha! And I have intentionally taken this break. Notice my eye twitching, yet? Ha!

My little helper. Can you believe this Type A Creative allowed this? Ha!

So what am I doing? Watching Murder, She Wrote. Listening to The Lord of the Rings on audiobook while I paint my daughter’s mural. It has been lovely. And I can already feel the creative spark returning. Sometimes. Ha! You can see more pictures on Instagram.

Which brings me to Camp National Novel Writing Month. In July! I will begin the rewrites for book three. Eep! That’s this Friday! I won’t be posting as much while I rewrite book three.

And then, and then!!! We will be off to Minnesota to visit with my folks! A visit long over due. It’s been at least four years since we’ve been home.

How is your summer going? Any special plans?

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Nominations are open!

************ Nominations are now closed!*************

Thank you all for participating!


Welcome to the first ever Silmarillion Awards!

silmarillion-awards-border-goldThe Silmarillion Awards have been created by DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt as a way to honor J.R.R. Tolkien as the Father of Modern Fantasy, open up a discussion about some of our other favorite fantasy works, and to have a ton of fun this summer.

When we started thinking about creating a sort of “Fantasy Oscars,” we found it difficult to fathom any award that wouldn’t be won by a character or item from The Lord of the Rings… so, to make things a bit more interesting, we decided to call them “The Silmarillion Awards” and have characters from LOTR and The Hobbit present the awards as examples of the ultimate standard for each award. Hopefully that will even the playing field a bit.

Joining our team are eight other bloggers and authors who will each be hosting one of these awards, called Silmarils, on their blogs towards the end of July.

But before we get there, we need YOUR help! Starting today, June 20th and proceeding through July 1st, the nomination period for each award will be open. Please visit the participating bloggers (found in the list below), read the descriptions of the awards and make your nominations!

Nominate characters in the comments of each blog post. If someone has already nominated the character you would have nominated, you may either second that nomination, open a new nomination, or do both. We will be picking the 5 characters with the most “seconds” for the final voting period that will take place between July 4th – 13th, so you may also “third,” “fourth,” “fifth,” etc any nominations you particularly like.

Fine print:

  • Please do not nominate anything from one of your OWN books!
  • You may nominate a character AND second, third, fourth a character… but please only vote once. (i.e. You cannot nominate a character and then also second that same character)
  • Please share about the Silmarillion Awards on social media to spread the excitement far and wide across Middle Earth. Use the hashtag: #silmawards2016 wherever possible!
  • Don’t nominate a Tolkien character for the awards, as the characters presenting the awards are already the standard for each award
  • Don’t stress if a character you nominate doesn’t win this year. We are hoping to make this an annual tradition, and these awards are LIFETIME AWARDS, meaning that they cannot be won by the same character more than once!

Official Schedule:

Phase 1 – June 20-July 1: Award nominations open

Phase 2 – July 4: the final nominees will be announced and voting will open and last through July 14th

Phase 3 – July 16-28: Presentation of the awards, 1 per day, each award will be hosted on a different blog each day

Phase 4 – Celebration! July 29th was the official publication date of the Lord of the Rings back in 1954. We invite you all to celebrate with us the 62nd birthday of this masterpiece of Fantasy Fiction. Congratulate the winners, take and post a photo of yourselves with LOTR paraphernalia, write a blog post about your favorite LOTR moment, scene, character, quote, or memory… get creative and have fun!

Participating Bloggers & the Awards they will be presenting!

And for the reward that will be presented on my blog: Best Redemption Story.
The Best Redemption Story Award should go to the story that demonstrates the most heart-touching redemption story within the realm of fantasy, whether this story is a golden thread woven into the tapestry of a larger story or the entire story itself. A story which features a character who has fallen to disgrace, committed dreadful deeds, or has simply lost his or her way. Misguided. Dejected. Alone. Embittered. Yet he or she rises from the depths of darkness to a glorious renewing of his or her soul, leaving us with the warm glow of hope for a better tomorrow, a deeper understanding and appreciation of the struggle to overcome, and just maybe rekindle the belief that there is still some good in this world worth fighting for.

This award will be presented by one who has tasted the bitter depths of darkness and wept. But he did not remain in such disgrace. Far be it! He rose to fight that others might live and he paid the ultimate price to do so.

Fair thee well, fellow adventurers! Until our next meeting, nominate away!

**************************************** UPDATE************************************

I apologize! My blog hasn’t let anyone comment, not even me! BUT I think we have it fixed now. If for some reason it decides to not let you comment again, you can comment on my Facebook blog post regarding the nominations. I am so sorry! I don’t want to miss any of your nominations at all!

Categories: Just for Fun, Love of Reading | Tags: , , , | 123 Comments

Coming Soon!

Greetings fellow adventurers!

Something grand is coming. A celebration of special magnificence for fantasy lovers everywhere. A time to recognize the best of the best of heroes and riddles, of poetry and death. Of beloved friendships and counselors, and nefarious villains. Of trusted mounts and extraordinary weapons. It is why we read these stories, no?

Along with my fellow bloggers, we present to you the brain child of DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Leanne Schmidt:


Beginning next Monday, the fellowship of bloggers will be accepting nominations for the awards in TEN different categories.

Until then: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door . . . You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

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Post Launch Thanks

book party james

Can you tell we had way too much fun?

Happy Wednesday!

May was a crazy, amazing month. We launched Darkened Hope out into the world and celebrated online and offline. I am so thankful for everyone who helped me make it a success! To everyone who shared about the book’s release and the giveaways, thank you! And thank you, my fellow adventurers who went out and bought a copy! May you all enjoy the next installment of Ayianna’s journey!



mad hatter

Mad Hatter meets Ayianna!

A big thank you to My Nälu Warriors!

  • The Artist Librarian
  • Jenelle Leanne Schimdt
  • Rosalie Valentine
  • Heather L. L. FitzGerald
  • Kathrese McKee
  • Deborah Dunson
  • Lynn Donovan


And my blog tour peeps! Thank you!


And a BIG thank you to the Lillie Russell Memorial Library!

kiddos in costumeCarrie, Rachel, and Zoe. Thank you all so much for making the Bookish Costume Party a success! It was amazing. We had so much fun. Thank you! I was hoping to get the pictures uploaded to the blog today, but that’s proving to be a bigger task than I was prepared for. Ha! But soon! If you’d like to catch a glimpse of the party, drop by the event page on Facebook and check out the pics posted there. 🙂

And now I just want to SLEEEEEEEEP. For the past two months or so, I have been very focused on preparing Darkened Hope for publication and it’s release celebrations, leaving little time for much else. The state of my house is a testament to that. Although, I did manage to stay just on top of the laundry, dishes, and meals. The kids and the hubby have to eat. Ha!

That said, I am exhausted. As much as I would like to totally sleep for the next two months, I can’t. Ha! We’ve got some cool things happening such as the massive Summer Reading Challenge giveaway by Brock Eastman AND we have the Silmarillion Awards coming up! More about those next week! Eek! But I will be taking a little break to refuel and catch up on life a little, then it is diving into book three! Currently, it is a rough draft, but I do have a new outline for it, so it will be a complete rewrite. *gasp*

sam's muralOne of my big plans for this summer, aside from my trip to Minnesota, is to finally paint a mural for my daughter. I’ve been stumped at what to paint for her. She doesn’t have any big obsessions like my son does, who now has a Larryboy and the Incredible Vegetables breaking through his wall. But we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted! Unless it doesn’t turn out… Ha! And I hope to catch up on my reading.

Got any big plans for the summer?


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Cute Dragon & Ebooks Giveaway!

Happy Friday!

Today, I’m over at H. A. Titus’s blog with an interview and a look at my new desk! Not too long ago, Brent King shared a post on writerly spaces and invited to share mine. That was right before we bought the desk. No more kitchen table writing, no more-crack-down-the-middle folding table for me. 🙂

The giveaway for 1) A Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson and 2) Darkened Hope over at E. A. Hendryx ends in two days!

Now about that cute dragon giveaway!

I am so excited to be able to participate in this giveaway from Amaze-ing Hats. They are giving away one of the crocheted dragons reading a book…YOUR choice of what that book will be!!! Plus ebooks galore! And two of mine. 😀 I am starting to put together my reading list for the summer. I will post mine next week. Which book are you most looking forward to reading?

dragon giveaway

Don’t forget about the mind-blowing Summer Reading Challenge giveaway by Brock Eastman. 

Have a great weekend! Any special plans?

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