From the Fandom Friday Link Up

Greetings, my dear readers!

I have decided that the final post for From the Fandom Friday will be a link-up!

What you do:
-Write a letter to your favorite author.
-Post it on your blog on Friday, October 30.  (Don't forget to steal the graphic I made!)
-Put the link to your post in the comments.
-Share your post!

I apologize, I couldn't get an "official" link up to work in this post.  The coding the website gave me didn't work or something techy like that.  :(  So, what I would like for you to do is post the link to your post in the comments and then on Saturday, I will post all of the participants in a new post.  Thank you so much for understanding!

Show love to your favorite authors!

-Alea Harper


The Crossways - BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY

I am very pleased to be able to participate in Morgan Elizabeth Huneke's blog tour for her new book, The Crossways!

About the Book

“M’lady, it has been fairly well confirmed that the Redona was hidden away by the merfolk at the conclusion of the Great War instead of destroyed as was commanded. My brother has confirmed to me Joseph’s belief that it was concealed at the Crossways.”
Toarna pressed her fingertips together in thought. “It must be recovered and destroyed as was at first intended.”

Emily, Allan, Jill, and Joey have been reunited with their long lost ancestors. But with that reunion comes the true beginning of their quest: free the rightful king of Calhortz so that he may be restored to his throne. The Redona, the only object that can free him from his long imprisonment, is rumored to be concealed in The Crossways, a mountain across the sea which cannot be entered.
A slave since birth, Adriel’s resentment and hatred towards the strytes only grows as his family is continually ripped from him. He longs for the freedom the Time Captives are prophesied to bring, but he doubts their existence, just as he doubts God’s love. Circumstances in Calhortz are so dire. How could they ever improve?
Who can enter The Crossways? Will the king ever be freed? Or will the slaves of Calhortz lose all hope of freedom before it is even offered to them?

The Crossways is the second book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Author Interview

Welcome to my little corner of the Internet, Morgan!  Question 1 is, when did you decide you wanted to be an author?
It was so long ago, I don’t even remember. I’ve been making up characters since I was about two or so, and making up stories since before I could write them down myself, so the natural next step was to be an actual author. When I was pretty young, I used to imagine going into the library and seeing a shelf full of books that I wrote. We actually considered trying to publish a picture book I wrote when I was about seven, but my cousin never actually drew the pictures, so the idea got dropped. I’m kind of glad, because, while I think I could make it publishable, it definitely needs a rewrite for that. I guess the short answer is that I’ve pretty much always wanted to be an author.

I look back on some stories I considered publishing when I was younger and cringe when I look back at them...  So, what made you choose self-publishing?
Well, when I first heard about self-publishing a loooong time ago, it wasn’t really a thing, and so I just brushed it off and kept a list of traditional publishers. But when a family friend self-published his book, And Then They Prayed, I started looking into it. It seemed a lot more doable than traditional publishing, and I kept feeling like I really needed to publish my first book, Across the Stars, and my second, The Experiment. Unfortunately, the company our friends had used was really expensive and I just really didn’t have that kind of money. I was at a loss as to what to do. That’s when my mom and a friend’s mom suggested I ask Molly Evangeline (now known as Jaye L. Knight) for advice. She told me about CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing, which are basically free, and advised me through the whole process. It’s a lot of work, but I love being in control of it myself, and I wouldn’t go back now.

That's awesome!  I really admire those who work very hard to put their book out there for the world to read.  :) Coffee or tea?
Tea. I don’t drink coffee, but I do like my tea. I like it both hot and cold, but it has to be sweet, and I like it best in the afternoon. I especially like hot tea with peppermint in it. Since my stomach is rather particular, I always have a little snack with my afternoon tea. It makes me feel quite British, having afternoon tea like that. I do have some British blood, though I’m mostly German. Tea oddly makes me sleepy, though.

Tea is pretty awesome.  :)  I am pretty sure Germans drink a lot of tea as well, you you can now feel both British and German.  At what age did you give your life to Christ?
I tried so many times throughout my childhood. I grew up in a Christian household, so I always believed Christianity was true, but there wasn’t really any evidence of my being a Christian until I was about nine. I changed then, for the better, and the only explanation is that that was finally the time that my trying to give my life to Christ actually worked. I’m a much different person now than I was when I was little, and Christ is the only reason for that.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Morgan!  Congrats on publishing another book!

And for the giveaway...
Join in the excitement of Time Captives and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive a signed copy of The Crossways. The second prize winner will receive an eCopy of The Crossways in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

About the Author 

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment.I tried so many times throughout my childhood. I grew up in a Christian household, so I always believed Christianity was true, but there wasn’t really any evidence of my being a Christian until I was about nine. I changed then, for the better, and the only explanation is that that was finally the time that my trying to give my life to Christ actually worked. I’m a much different person now than I was when I was little, and Christ is the only reason for that.

You can connect with Morgan on her websiteblogFacebookTwitterGoogle Plus, and Pinterest.


From The Fandom Friday - Announcement

Greetings, all!

I am nearing the end of From the Fandom Friday, but I have a special surprise for next Friday.  I will post more about it soon!



What I Love About Dressing Up As A Character

I don't know about you, but I absolutely LOVE dressing up as my favorite characters.  There is just something magical about it.  For one day (or even part of a day) you can BE another character.

Just a disclaimer, this is not about a certain "holiday" that happens to be at the end of this month.  I do not celebrate this, I am just posting about dressing up.

Now that that's out of the way, I can continue.

So why do I love dressing up so much?

1. You can find others who like the same things.  (aka How to Make Friends 101)

2. It gives you an opportunity to show off an accent you have been practicing, if the character has an accent.  Because...why not?

3. You get to play with makeup and actually spend time on your appearance.  This is fun every once in a while.

4. You get to look crazy with no shame.  Isn't it fun to look crazy every once in a while?

5. You can dress up in a group.  Why not be all of the Avengers?  Why not be Parvin, Jude, and Willow?  Why not be Kyrin, Jace, Kaden, Trask, and Anne?  Why not be Eanrin and Imraldera?

Bonus Thingy: Guess who I am dressed up as today?

Okay, I'm done rambling now.  :) Carry on down your list of blog posts to read.  :)


Have you ever dressed up as a character?  Who was it?  What was it for?


Book Review: Paralyzed Dreams by C.B. Cook

I recieved a very happy little email the other day that I had won a copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway.  Honestly, I don't even remember ever entering a giveaway, but evidently I did.  :D Free books are awesome.

About the Book

She lost everything she’d ever dreamed of.

Fourteen-year-old Pam Wilson’s life is going perfectly. She and her best friend, Lauren, are becoming an amazing volleyball duo, and her dreams of playing in the Olympics are coming along wonderfully. Then a car accident paralyzes Pam from the waist down, and her dreams for her life are shattered. No more volleyball, no more walking, no more future. The only thing she has left is her faith in God… if she would only turn there.

My Review
Paralyzed Dreams is a story about a girl who becomes paralyzed in a car accident and the struggles she deals with after the fact.  I think this is a fantastic concept, especially to be a Christian book.  Overall it was a great read!

The Characters
Pam is such a real character.  The way she handles her paralysis is so...real.  She isn't okay with it like, "I am so happy I am paralyzed because that's what God wants for me!"  She was mad at God.  She was scared at what others would think.  She was upset that her dreams were paralyzed with her legs.  I really like her as a character.  :D

The Setting
The setting isn't really a big part of this story, but it works out well that way.  The one thing I am a bit confused about is how Pam gets up to her room with apparently is upstairs...

The Plot
The plot of this story is a fairly simple one, but beautifully written with fleshed out characters that is seems complex.  I do with the book was longer, but maybe that's because I really enjoyed it.  :)

In Closing...
This is a must read for teens, and people of all ages.  It is a clean, quick read that will teach you lessons about life.

Thank you again, C.B., for sending me a copy of your book!

About the Author
C.B. Cook is just a 17-year-old girl trying to find out where her King is guiding her, while writing the stories of the people she creates, the worlds she wants to live in, and the adventures she dreams about. Also known as a mythical creature called an “author”.  You can find her on her blog, https://theworldofthewriter.wordpress.com.


Have you ever read this book?  What did you think?


Book Review: A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes

I'm going to take a little break from From the Fandom Friday to post a review for "A Time to Speak" which came out today!  (Yay!)

My Review

*Disclaimer* This book has spoilers from the first book, A Time to Die.  If you haven't read that yet please do not read on until you have.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I had such high expectations from this book and Nadine totally met them all!  It brought back all the Jude feels.  Oh yes, all the Jude feels.  Nadine did a really great job of "helping me through that" throughout the book.

Parvin is great as she has always been.  There are some new characters as well.  Tawny, as we learned from book one, is now Reid's widow and she and Parvin have a strained relationship, which is completely realistic.  It is amazing how deep each one of the characters are even though they are told through Parvin's eyes.  Hawke has a big role in this book as well.  He's pretty awesome.  :D  I also really like Parvin's mother in this book.  In book one, they were distant from each other.  In this book, they come closer together.  It really is a beautiful relationship.

Ahh the setting.  :D How does Nadine create the most realistic setting ever?  She immersed me in the future earth with Clocks.  I felt like I was there.  (Did I mention I couldn't put the book down?)  I could see Prime clearly in my mind.  I shivered as Parvin was cold.  Reading this book through her eyes, I felt like I became Parvin, saw what she saw, felt what she felt.  How does Nadine do this?  She is such an amazing writer.

My lips are sealed.  Go read it and find out for yourself.  A word of advice: make sure you have time to read it in one day.

Final Thoughts
If you rebelled against my spoiler warning and read this review anyway, still go read A Time to Die.  You can buy it right here on Amazon.  Go check out this amazing book filled with hope and strong faith, even in the darkest of times.  Please buy A Time to Speak right here.

About the Author

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.


How to Make A Book Cover Using Photoshop

Books covers...those magical things that are the first thing people see of your book.  People say not to judge a book by its cover, but honestly, people do.

I posted earlier this year about how I made my book cover for Part 1 of The Clockshifter, back when it was going to be two books instead of one.  That was a long and complicated process that you all probably couldn't follow very well.  Yesterday, Rachael from The Art of Writing for Him asked me some questions on how I make my book covers.  So, this post happened.  :)

"What program do I now use?" you ask.


I know, I know, Photoshop is expensive...but good news!  Adobe is offering Photoshop CS2 (the old version) free right here!  If you freak out over not having a serial code or whatever they are called, it is a couple of columns over on the same row as Photoshop.

Once you have Photoshop downloaded, you are ready to get started.

When you open it DO NOT BE OVERWHELMED.  It looks extremely confusing.

Now to make the cover...

1. Get an idea in your head of what you want it to look like.  Assume you can do anything when you make this cover.  Don't think about if you will be able to the right copyright free image to do this particular thing; just assume you can.  Photoshop is amazing when it comes to what you can do.

2. Find pictures to use.  Chances are, you will combine multiple images into one final product.  If you are using this book cover for the official cover for your book, you will need to make sure the pictures you use can be used for commercial use AND you can manipulate them.

Sites I Like to Use: (Please use caution.  I haven't had a problem with these sites with inappropriate content yet, but just in case I will warn you that you never know what will come up.  Just beware.)

- PhotoPin - This site has a TON of free images to use.  Some are really bad quality, and some just look bad, but sometimes that bad picture can be manipulated to look good.

- Unsplash - This is my go-to site for all scenery and sometimes people.  All of their images are available for commercial use for free!

For other site recommendations, I encourage you to check out this post on Go Teen Writers.

3. Start editing your photos.  You are probably reading this and thinking, "Is Alea just going to let me figure out this thing called Photoshop on my own?"  Good news!  No, I am not.  In no way am I an expert, (Goodness, I've only been at this two weeks) but I have found some really great tutorials.

Photoshop 101

Tip 1 - The version CS2 does the majority of what newer versions can do, just sometimes the buttons are in a little different place.  Figure out what all the buttons are called and memorize where they are.

Tip 2 - Download fonts from Dafont.com.  They have some seriously amazing fonts!  (Make sure and use the ones that are 100% free and read the artist's terms of use!)

Tip 3 - Make your text readable, yet AWESOME.

You can...

...Just describe what you want to Google...

You can do so much with your text...don't let that opportunity go to waste!

Tip 4 - Filters are your best friend.  You can put filters on your images to make them look artistic.  You can make images look like paintings, sketches, cool metal things and a whole bunch of other cool things!  This can do wonders to help a badly taken picture.

Tip 5 - Crop around a person using the lasso tool.  I have used this took so many times.

Tip 6 - If you drag an image into your project and it isn't big enough, go back into the image and increase the number of pixels.

Tip 7 - Familiarize yourself with the Photoshop interface.  Know where things are.  Play around.

Tip 8 - Youtube helps.  As long as you can describe what you want to Google, you are good to go!


If you have any questions for me, please comment and I will do my best to answer!  If you know the answer to someone's question, don't be afraid to answer!


Beautiful Books Link Up - My 2015 NaNo Novel

I know I don't normally post on Sundays, but I really wanted to do the Beautiful Books link-up.

Today I will be rambling talking to you about my novel that I will be writing in November.  I told you a bit about it a few days ago, but Cait's link up inspired me to share more.  :)

1.How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I'm not sure the exact date the idea came to me, but I think it was sometime over the summer.  I do remember that I was trying to find cool movie trailer music (I'm weird like that) and suddenly I thought of a little intro monologue.  More started developing in my head before I could stop it and then, voila!  I had a story idea.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
It's a story that needs to come out and be told.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
If you saw my little post a few days ago, you saw the little line I wrote for it.  It said:

The point isn't that she went, but that she came back.

Since then I have added to it so that it says...

Murder and spies in a labyrinth of lies with a tinge of time travel.  Remember, the point isn't that she went, but that she came back.

Font Attribution:  http://www.dafont.com/the-rave-is-in-your-pants.font

That's the just-for-fun cover I made a couple of days ago.  I think I need to go back and change the color of my name in the bottom right corner...  (The past few days I have been really obsessed with making book covers. :D )

As you can probably see, I have entitled this WIP To Be Awake.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
*hides* I haven't really developed my characters very much yet...but I can tell you their names...

Main Character - Haven.

Other POV character - Zenon

That's pretty much all have worked out.  I probably should seeing as there are only 20 days until I have to start writing this thing... :)

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
Goodness...I don't know!  I think maybe Zenon.  He's more than he appears to be, I'll just tell you that. He is a spoilerish character.  :D *Evil author laugh*

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
The protagonist's main goal is that she the government to stop doing bad things.  (Another spoiler there too).  The problem is, everyone believes their lies.  No one will help and Haven is being used by the government against her will.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
I haven't worked all of this out either.  I am thinking earth in the future and then the Civil War era.  I mentioned there was time travel, didn't I?  The future earth is set up in a society of time travellers (sorry, not Time Lords) who when they turn a certain age get to pick what time period they want to go back into (or forward).

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
Probably her relationship with Zenon.  It will take many twists and turns throughout the book.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Still working this part out... :)

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
I guess the main theme of To Be Awake, at this point in the writing journey, is that it is important to find the truth while surrounded by lies.  When the book is over, I want readers to feel depressed and sad.  Just kidding! :) I want them to feel like it is one of the best books they have ever read.  I want them to be uplifted by the story, even if there are some depressing parts.  I want them to have learned something from it.

11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
- Do word wars with other people trying for the name goal.  Don't get distracted chatting with them, though.
- Just get words onto the paper and silence your inner editor.  Do it.  It helps.
- Word crawls are amazing and fun.  They are basically a series of word wars with yourself or another person that follow a story.  They are long, but awesome.  You can find some here: http://www.wikiwrimo.org/wiki/Word_crawl


Enough about my novel, tell me about your novel!  Or if you are participating in this link up, send me a link so I can read the post!  Comment away, my readers!


2015 End of the Year Goals

WHERE HAS 2015 GONE?  Can you believe it's almost over?  How time flies...

Anyways...I stole borrowed this post idea from my writing buddy over at A Writer's Faith, Katie.  Her blog is awesome, please take a little break from this post go check it out!

Now that you have witnessed her awesomeness, you may proceed to read.  :)

My 2015 End of the Year Goals

1. Post more often.

I know, I know, I post on here sporatically.  I have a little problem with coming up with interesting posts that you all might actually want to read.  If you ever have any ideas or suggestions, let me know in the comments on any post.  You have no idea how happy it makes me to get an email in my Inbox saying YOU commented! :D

2. Finish editing The Clockshifter.

I have been working on this novel for so long.  I love it, but I just want it done.  23k words left to rewrite before I can move on to line edits and then it goes to beta readers (look for a post in the future to sign up to beta read it!)

3. Write 50,000 words of my new novel in November for NaNoWriMo.

I am so excited for this!  I have the plot all planned out.  I think it is going to be nice to work on something other than The Clockshifter for once.  :)

4. Reread some of my favorite books.

I have wanted to reread some books for a while now, but new books just keep coming along.  *sigh* Then my reread list gets longer...and longer...and looonnngggeeerrr.

5. Journal more often.

Recently I have gotten into journaling.  I want to do this more often so I can look back on this time in my life and see how God has worked and I have grown.

And those are my ambitious goals to complete by the end of the year!  This post is probably more for my benefit than yours since it forces me to actually complete them.

What are some of your goals?  Any blog post ideas/something you want me to blog about?  Comment away, my dear readers! 


25 Days Until NaNoWriMo 2015

You have probably heard me ramble about NaNoWriMo before.  This will be my third time participating in NaNoWriMo and my sixth NaNo event!  It is so motivating!

However, this will be my first time attempting to write 50,000 in one month!  :D

And I am working on a new novel!  Yes, I still have to finish editing The Clockshifter, but I can't miss a NaNoWriMo event.  Besides, I have a fantastic idea for a new novel.  I am not going to reveal too much yet, but here is a little line I have come up with to describe it.

The point is not that she went, but that she came back.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo in November?  What are you writing?  Is your goal 50k or something lower?


Get to Know the Readers

Greetings, my dear readers!

Sometimes it's hard to know who is on the other side of the Internet reading what I have to say.  So this is your chance to introduce yourself!  Who are you?  What do you like to do?  What are your fandoms?  Tell me about yourself in the comments!  If you have questions for me, I will do my best to answer them (unless they are creepy stalkerish questions like 'how old are you' or 'where do you live).

Comment away readers of mine!


Book Review: The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

“Not to be Chosen would yield a cruel fate of my own making.”

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—would end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority. 

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. The whispers contradict everything she’s been told; yet they resonate deep within. 

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, but she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.

My Review
If you saw my Facebook post the other day, you saw that I got a new book on Saturday from Lifeway Christian Book Store.  Needless to say, I devoured it.  Oh my, was it good. :D

I have grown to love Christian dystopian books ever since I read A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes.  They always have such high stakes and messages of hope through utter darkness.  This book has a strong message of hope, worth, and beauty for girls.  In the futuristic society the main character, Carrington, lives in, they measure a woman's worth and beauty.  The women in the book judge themselves by their flaws and believes what society tells them about themselves.

Fear not, readers, for there is hope!

Even though society believes so many lies about well...just about everything, the real Truth prevails.  (I will not elaborate any more on this because there may be some spoilers.)

The Characters
Wow.  The characters.  They were real people with real flaws, real emotions, real problems.  Carrington is constantly told her worth is measurable, that she brought all this on herself.  She is so insecure.  Not only that, but she grows by the end of the book.

Let me talk about the antagonist of the story for a minute.  He is one of the most amazingly written antagonists I have ever read about.  I can't say any more about him in this review.  Go read the book.

The Setting
Typical dystopian book...walled city, controlling government, awesomely simple names of jobs... But there are some extremely unique things about this society.  One can see this when they see how they view women.  This alone leads to some intriguing setting...stuff.  I really don't want to say too much for fear of ruining it for you.

Other Stuff
I would recommend this book for older teens, maybe 15 and above.  The main focus of this story is marriage, but it just has to do with the setting where the goals of women are to get married and have children.  There is a little romance, but it is sweet and clean.  There is also a little violence and a ton of suspense.

Okay...enough with my rambling.  Go read the book.  :D

About the Author

The oldest daughter of "New York Times" bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair. Visit her online at www.rachelledekker.com.