Our next post in our series introducing the authors from my upcoming project is from Rebecca Pettett. Take a moment and get to know a bit about her. I promise, you'll like her!
Greetings! I am Rebecca Pettett, one of the contributing authors to the Galactic Exploration Collection. As an introduction, I'd like to share a little fun about myself.
I'm an artist. I've loved the art of making art since I was little. I draw, crochet, sew, etc., and my room shows it. Let's just say my art materials take up a little bit of space. Okay, it's more like a lot.
I'm a perfectionist. Which is an ironic problem because nobody is perfect—and I am no exception. It's one of the many things I laugh at myself for.
I love Adventures in Odyssey. I've listened to it basically all my life. My family and I still do, but it's not as much as we used to. When I was younger, we used to have a whole collection of cassette tapes with AIO episodes on them. Cassette tapes. We mostly listened to AIO via the radio or online, except on road trips (what else are tapes for?). I lived in a very technologically diverse home.
I'm a musician. I love listening to, playing, or writing music. I mostly like to play piano and guitar, although I play few other instruments as well.
I'm now an author. Which is funny, because as a kid, I hated writing. Absolutely abhorred it. I loved coming up with stories but never finished writing one down until I was thirteen or so. I tried— many times. It probably didn't help that I couldn't spell for the life of me.
Lastly, I love being a part of the Galactic Team. God has brought me through an amazing and crazy journey to get here. It's been a very fun and wild ride, but I'm very grateful to the Lord for this adventure, and I'm glad you can join me. Until next time...
Interview by Brock Eastman
Featuring The Tethered World Chronicles
Brock: Hi, Heather! I understand your second book, The Flaming Sword, is about to be released for pre-order. Before we learn about that, what can you tell me about the first book, The Tethered World that we will be giving away on this blog?
Heather: Hello and thanks for having me! Yes, it’s hard to believe my second book is almost spit-shined and ready to meet the world. I’m still enjoying the afterglow of giving birth to my first little darling.
Book one, The Tethered World, introduces readers to sixteen-year-old Sadie Larcen. She’s the oldest of six and has a bit of a quirky family. Her father owns a cosmetology school, her mother is an expert on Bigfoot and other legends, and she and her siblings are homeschooled. One of her twin brothers is autistic. Sadie has always been embarrassed by her parents’ oddball professions and can’t wait to graduate, head to college, and begin a literary career.
But her mother’s professional hobby becomes Sadie’s worst nightmare when her parents are kidnapped by creatures that once lived in the Garden of Eden. Creatures most people don’t believe exist.
Now, Sadie and her siblings have to venture into a land populated by beings from folklore and save their parents. Poor Sadie would much rather read about adventures than experience them. She’s not the average female book heroine, ready to defeat the forces of evil and take names later.
Brock: And how do the experiences in the first book affect Sadie in the second book, The Flaming Sword?
Heather: Sadie more readily accepts what has to be done the second time around. Although at first, she struggles with the same insecurities and fears. She claims she’d like traveling to the Tethered World better if it didn’t involve life or death situations.
But now she has friends in this place, and their life is being threatened. Add to that the risk to her autistic brother Brock—who stayed behind in book one to train to be High King. His life is one of many in danger. In fact, if Sadie and her family don’t help to protect the Flaming Sword of Cherubythe, the entire planet is in danger.
Definitely, the stakes are much higher for Sadie in The Flaming Sword.
Also, my publisher, Mountain Brook Ink, suggested I add a secondary point of view in book two. Readers will get to see the action happening from two different vantage points this time, which makes for a pretty intense journey.
Brock: What’s the third book in the series called, and can you give us a little taste of what to look forward to?
Heather: Certainly! The third book is The Genesis Tree. I’m currently writing my first draft. Although Sadie and some of the others will have to head back to the belly of the earth to do battle, the enemy wants nothing less than world domination. They’re willing to expose themselves to the scrutiny of the media and the powers that be topside (the term they use for those of us on TOP of the earth’s crust), in order to grasp the power and recognition they crave.
Things will get downright dicey and dangerous. The third point of view is used in book three, which will add yet another layer. Although I don’t write with an outline (I’m a ‘pantser’), I do have major plot points I springboard toward (with a lot of prayers!). Often I’m just as surprised as the reader when characters hijack my story and wreak all sorts of havoc. I love it when that happens!
Brock: Never a dull moment at the keyboard, it sounds like! In conclusion, tell me why you are writing The Tethered World Chronicles? What did you hope to share with readers by letting them into this mysterious world?
Heather: Great question! The Tethered World introduces readers to the secret place where God moved the inhabitants of Eden before the flood of Noah. They’ll meet dwarves, gnomes, leprechauns, trolls, Nephilim, and more. I noticed that cultures all over the world share similar folklore (long before the internet, newspapers, or even printed books). For example, from the Pacific Northwest to Tibet, there are rumors of a “wild man in the mountains” (Bigfoot, yeti, abominable snowman etc). My stories suggest there may be a reasonable explanation for such worldwide sightings.
Along with Sadie, our reluctant heroine, I hope to take the reader to a land that is almost convincing enough to be true. I love stories that seem quite possible, even if they are not probable. The Chronicles of Narnia have that quality and I desired to write a series laced with the same believable potential. I hope that readers will yearn to find a dragon in the fog, faeries within a circle of toadstools, and gnomes guarding a powerful sword…just like they yearn to find a lamppost glowing in the woods.
Heather L.L. FitzGerald lives in Fort Worth, Texas with four someones that call her mom and one special someone that calls her his wife. She homeschooled her children--one of whom is autistic--and teaches ballet at a fine arts school on her off-time. Heather is a member of the North Texas Christian Writers and helps to facilitate the Fort Worth-based Manet writer’s group, and she loves drinking ice lattes, cloud watching, and getting lost in a good book.
You can connect with Heather on her website/blog, Facebook, Pinterest (Belongs to her main character, Sadie), Character blog: (Sadie’s mom has a blog about legendary creatures.), Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. The Tethered World is available from Amazon. The Flaming Sword will be available for pre-order on Amazon August 1st, and released November 1st, 2016.
Hello! I’m Ann Hirshberg, one of the writers in the Galactic Exploration Collection that Brock Eastman will be releasing. I was very excited to be a part of this project when I first heard of it, and I’ve learned some things about being a writer along the way.
For example, I’ve found that the writing process can be very challenging, as well as time-consuming. An especially difficult undertaking, to me, is the revision process. This involves making many changes to your story so that it is exactly how you want it to be. I have had lots of help from my family in fixing up my work, but it has not been easy!
Along the way, one factor of revising was that I had to balance all the feedback I received and figure out what advice to take. Every so often, I would have somebody point out a plot hole, or something that wasn’t quite right, and we would spend a long time deciding how to correct it. That was frustrating, but ultimately worthwhile.
The biggest thing that I felt needed improvement was the ending. I had to revise it twice before I thought it was good enough to be a part of my first revision. The first two endings were a little too rushed, but I was finally able to create something that fit. I am sure I will still need to revise some things, but, as of now, I’m rather pleased with my newest resolution. It has been able to build up to a climax that suits the story, and bring it to a close in a way I like.
Overall, the writing process for my part of the collection has been a struggle so far, but it has taken me on a journey. Throughout it all, I have been able to see the transformation of the story I’m writing into something that is growing more satisfactory. I have learned about hard work, and how it is able to bring success.
My friend the Dragon Lady
Written by Brock Eastman
In 2008 I moved to Colorado Springs as a newlywed starting out on a new adventure. My wife and I accepted a position with Focus on the Family and were excited about our new life together in a place new to both of us. Yes it meant new friends, a new church, a new community, but it also meant those things were both of ours, not just the church I grew up in, her high school friends, and a city with the same old familiar haunts we visited through our season of dating each other. We were beginning a new adventure together and like the early pioneers had little idea as to what we might experience. What we did find were many of God’s blessings ahead, including the beginning of my writing career. I hope to share parts of this adventure with you in my column this year and perhaps inspire you on your journey.
If you’ve ever been to Focus on the Family you’ll know they have a beautiful campus with a wonderful bookstore and of course Whit’s End. But this article isn’t about my favorite audio drama Adventures in Odyssey (Whit’s End,) it’s about the bookstore and a very special lady I met there. A lady who inspired me in my writing career, her name is Donita K. Paul. Many call her the Dragon Lady.
I’d only been working at Focus for a few short months when the bookstore hosted a book signing with author Donita K. Paul. I’d never heard of her, in fact even though I was working at a ministry I wasn’t a big reader of Christian fiction, for that matter I was hardly a reader at all. But I thought, well this is cool, I can meet a real live author. Although I admit I was a bit nervous I crossed the parking lot and got in line. My small bit of anxiety was quickly washed away as I heard her laughing with some kids and saw her bright smile. She’d set up a wonderful table with the first four books in the Dragon Keeper Chronicles, she had a ‘prize dragon’ (a stuffed dragon you reach into it’s mouth and pull out a prize,) and every color of pen you could imagine.
When it was my turn I scooped up each of her books and she asked what color I would like her to sign them in. I chose a different color for each book and made sure the color of the ink matched the book’s cover. We had a brief delightful conversation, she told me about the series, I told her I was new to Colorado Springs and had started at Focus on the Family. She welcomed me and assured me I would love it here. We said goodbye (as there was still a long line behind me) and I took my books to the counter, checked out, and left.
That night when I started reading the books I fell in love with not only fantasy fiction, but Christian fiction. The Dragon Lady had woven a story (about our Redeemer and about sacrifice) into this fantastical world she had created. I flew through the four books and then had to wait. It wasn't until almost a year later when the fifth book finally released and saw her at the local Borders store where she was signing again; pens, prize dragon, and all. You see Borders was my wife and I’s favorite place to go. Again Donita was a joy to be around and I could tell not only was she passionate about her writing and characters, but she was passionate about using this medium to share the love of Jesus with others.
So fast forward a year or so. By now I had been consuming Christian fiction and was working in the product marketing area of Focus on the Family. I was working on kids’ books and my favorite brand Adventures in Odyssey. I’d also started to learn about the publishing industry itself thanks to my co-workers and new friends at Tyndale. Having fallen in love with Donita’s writing, I’d dusted off a manuscript I’d written in 2005 and prepared it to show publishers. A few short months later I had a contract for The Quest for Truth and while there were many other author and industry friends along the way that inspired, coached, and encouraged me, the reality of my publishing journey started with Donita K. Paul’s series The Dragon Keeper Chronicles.
And as with that first series, her latest series is continuing to inspire and captivate. In April of last year I wrote about the first book in her new series Realm Walkers. Donita continues the adventure and excitement in the second installment Two Renegade Realms (Available now from Zondervan.) The series isn’t just for kids, its a series for adults who love fantasy and science fiction. The characters are loveable, the story will keep you turning the page, and the world she created, although makebelieve, is believable because of her writing skill.
Donita inspired me through her writing and I know she will inspire you. Before you check out Relam Walkers make sure you’ve cleared your calendar for the next few weeks, because once you’ve finished this series, you’ll be grabbing her other books as well. But before you do here is a brief Q&A about Two Renegade Realms with Donita K. Paul.
Brock: In three words what is at the heart of Two Renegade Realms?
Donita: Preparation requires leadership
Brock: Names. How do you come up with the names of your characters and places?
Donita: My female protagonist was named after a favorite actor, Bill Bixby. Totobee-Rodolow was named after the dog in Wizard of Oz. Cantor was named after singers in formal church services. Tegan was named after President Reagan. I know. It’s a stretch.
Brock: Were there any characters or scenes that were cut from Two Renegade Realms? Can you share about them or even include some of the text that was cut?
Donita: Um, I edit so rigorously as I write that I rarely get to the end and have to cut scenes or characters. The last time I did that was in my first book published. The editor had me cut a segment with a cute dog, a cute kid, and vile villains.
Brock: What is the message that you hope readers take away from this book?
Donita: Be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Know enough to make wise choices
Brock: Give us a hint on what to expect in the third book.
Donita: Since it is the last book in the trilogy, you can expect to have everything wrapped up all nice and tidy. You can expect a bumpy ride to get there. Specifically, in an attempt to create bogus realm walkers, our evil ne’er-do-wells are ruining the lives of innocent, and not so innocent, normal folk.
Brock: After this series completes do you have other series or books in the works?
Donita: I have no contracts at present, so I’m assigning myself some fun projects including another reader http://bit.ly/HouseonTrollHill ; a new picture book http://bit.ly/DragonandTurtle ; another Sage Street adventure http://bit.ly/2TicketstotheChristmasBall ; and some old-fashioned prairie romance http://bit.ly/TamingtheWildWind . Plus, we are celebrating the tenth anniversary of DragonQuest. Lots of things to keep me busy!
Brock: What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Donita: READ! Your brain subconsciously accumulates information about writing do’s and don’ts while you read. It accumulates examples of shabby techniques and stellar prose. What you like to read is what you will be most successful at writing. I don’t mean genres. You can read westerns and write thrillers, but the style and syntax of your favorite novels will bleed into your approach to storytelling.
If you haven't listened to either Wasted Wood, Coming Storm, or Truthful Test you're missing out.You can find all three on Audible here. And with every new release (Coming Storm) I offer the first ten people a free download in exchange for a review. If you'd like a free copy of Coming Storm (An Obbin adventure from The Quest for Truth) fill out the contact form below.
What people are saying:
"Kept My Daughter and I Engaged Till The End" - J. Ruis
"Amazing Storyline!! Highly reccomended!!!" - Rebecca
"Excellent! Can't Wait for the Next One" - H. Dickinson
"Such a great mini-story in the TQ4T universe!" - Amazon Customer
"Fantastic story for kids and their parents" - Jason G. Duesing
"This Was A Good Short Sci Fi With A Lesson" - Teresa
Waste Deep - Clubhouse Magazine
If you're a subscriber to Clubhouse then you've probably already received your July issue and discovered my latest story Waste Deep. This fun story is about Grey Wikk and life in an undersea colony beneath the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
The story teaches a valuable lesson about serving others and features Grey, his parents, and 3 lovable penguins. I hope you'll consider subscribing to this awesome magazine.
If you've read the story I'd love to hear what you thought. I know I've had a few questions asking how Grey might be related to the rest of the Wikk family featured in The Quest for Truth.
If you want to catch future stories and articles be sure to subscribe to Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines right away.
Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. stories you might have missed:
Coming Storm - January 2012 Clubhouse
Carrying the Cure - March 2015 Clubhouse
Mother's Day Mess - May 2016 Clubhouse Jr.
Waste Deep - July 2016 - Clubhouse
Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. stories you won't want to miss:
Christmas Story - December 2016 - Clubhouse Jr.
Fizzlebop Experiments - 4 Issues in 2016 - Clubhouse Jr.
More to come
Over the next few months, you'll be getting to know the contributing authors to the new Galactic Exploration Collection, an exciting collaborative project from Crimson Pulse Media. First up is Elissa, whose story is currently under construction, so you'll have to check back to keep up on the details.
I thought for my first post, it’d be fun to share 10 quirky truths about myself. So here goes.
10. I have four kids, three are homeschooled, the fourth (who was adopted from Russia) goes to a school for children with Autism.
9. I have no professional training as a writer. I’ve never even taken a creative writing class.
8. Aside from writing, I also like photography, graphic design, illustrating, gardening, and scrapbooking.
7. I hate cooking. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t have a family, I would survive by eating cheese and trail mix. So healthy. I know.
6. I read at least 3 books at the same time. I’ll read just about anything, but I normally go for nonfiction or young adult literature.
5. I’ve been an active member of the same church for 30 years. My parents started taking me there when I was in grade school.
4. I don’t own a working television.
3. Someday I’d like to teach writing classes.
2. I think pudding is gross.
1. I met Brock Eastman when he was looking for bloggers to promote his first TQ4T book like 5 years ago. We’ve worked on several projects together. My oldest son and I even got to meet him in person twice - once in Ohio (where I live) and again in Colorado (where he lives). He’s kind of a goof ball!
Thanks for letting me take over! I can't wait to talk to you all again soon!