Awakened Cover Reveal

Can I just say how excited I am that this day has finally arrived? I finished the edits on Awakened, the second book in the Soul Chronicles, over a year ago, and received the cover in September only to have my book put on hold. And I know how many of you have been patiently waiting to find out what happens next with Kat Bloodmayne and Stephen Grey. Well, the wait is over (at least mostly). I now can reveal the cover to you and give you a release date (along with the pre-order so you can receive Awakened ASAP when it comes out!). Here is the cover:

Awakened 3Isn’t it beautiful? *happy sigh* And let me tell you, the story is just as good as the cover 😉

Speaking of the book, Awakened comes out November 14th, just in time to curl up with a good book during those cold winter months. Want to receive Awakened when it releases? Here is the link to the pre-order: http://amzn.to/2gT9Llm

And for those of you on Goodreads, here is the link so you can add it to your to-be-read list: http://bit.ly/2hxmqec

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience and continued support of my writing. It brings much joy to my heart to finally present to you the final book in the Soul Chronicles.

Realm Makers 2017

I just got back from Realm Makers 2017 and can I just say wow? For those of you who don’t know what Realm Makers is, Realm Makers is a conference for people of faith who write fantasy/science fiction (and their subgenres). For me, it is a place where I get to meet with like-minded people and talk about God, writing, and geekiness.

This year, I didn’t find out I was going until three weeks before the conference, which meant a flurry of excitement and packing. Then off I went to Reno. I spent five days meeting some amazing people I’ve only known from the internet, meeting fellow Enclave authors, meeting new writers just starting their journey as well as seasoned writers from whom I was able to glean nuggets of wisdom. However the biggest surprise was at the costume party where I found out Tainted won the REALM AWARD for Horror/Paranormal/Steampunk.

So exciting!

I would say this has been the best Realm Makers yet and I’m already excited to go next year. In the meantime, here are some pictures from my trip. Enjoy!

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Hanging with fellow authors!
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Hanging with Jim Rubart 🙂
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The Greatest American Hero (aka Kirk Douponce, the amazing artist for Tainted) and me at the Costume Party
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Steve Rzasa, John Otte, me, and Kerry Nietz 🙂
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The awesome Jill and Brad Williamson as Gamora and Starlord
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Tainted up for the Parable Award
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Tainted, winner of the Realm Award for Horror/Paranormal/Steampunk!

The Girl Who Could See

Hey everyone! I love meeting new authors and so today I’m excited to introduce you to a new author and her book. First, here is the cover:

The Girl who could see

Isn’t it gorgeous? I fell in love the first time I saw it. But a book is more than its cover. Here is Kara to tell you more about her debut novella, The Girl Who Could See.

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

***

Intriguing, yes? I agree! I haven’t read The Girl Who Could See yet, but it is near the top of my TBR list :). If you’re interested in acquiring your own copy, here is where you can find it:

BUY LINK:

https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Who-Could-See

GOODREADS LINK:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34094813-the-girl-who-could-see

 

And here is more about the author, Kara Swanson:

Kara SwansonAs the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre. At seven- teen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

Here is where you can find Kara online:

Find Kara online at www.karaswanson.com

Facebook: Kara Swanson, Author

Twitter: @kara_author

Instagram: @karaswanson_author

Art as a Ministry

Shortly after I moved to Illinois, I was invited to an art circle, a meeting where artists get together and show their work and talk about art. While there, I met a young lady who created art out of light (literally light). It was amazing! When it came my turn to share, I talked about my writing and the books I had published. This young lady contacted me a couple weeks later and shared how my books had intrigued her, so she went home and started reading Daughter of Light.

That connection led to us having coffee and her sharing how she came to know Christ—from an antagonistic atheist to a follower of Jesus—and how her passion is to not only create art, but to reach fellow college art students with the gospel. As a fellow artist, I resonated with her words and was moved by her heart for college students. I’ve been in ministry for a long time, but I’ve never heard of anyone with that kind of passion for art and for students of art.

Not only that, Sara gets college students and speaks into their unique world. She shared with me a story about how she was talking to a young lady who was viewing her artwork and the topic of Star Wars came up. By using Star Wars, Sara shared who God is and how He works in the world. No big words, no eloquent gospel presentation. Just using an image the young lady already knew, and using it to help her to understand God more. To Sara, the gospel flows naturally through her, whether that is directly through her artwork, or through whatever topic comes up when she is speaking to people.

As one artist to another, I am inspired by Sara’s passion and love for art, for God, and for people. Because of that, I wanted to introduce all of you to Sara and the ministry she is embarking on to reach art students. Here she is to tell you her story in her own words.

Being-installation-Sara-paige

During my time in grad school, I realized just how hostile the arts can be towards Christians. I was baptized four months before coming to the University of Illinois, so faith as part of my art was a new concept for me. I felt like I had to hide or be covert about faith topics within my art. I reached a point where I could no longer be ashamed of who God called me to be and the power within His truth. I got a lot of push back from classmates and some professors when I started being open about the influence my faith had on my art. Once I allowed God into my art practice though, I witnessed amazing growth, spiritually, artistically, and relationally.

God is the ultimate creator. He created everything, especially us, in His image. I honestly believe that as artists, when we create we enact on that image of God within us. God wants to be a part of our artistic practices, whether it be visual arts, design, music, theater, dance, or writing. He longs to see His kingdom come and what better way to bring that than through the arts? We as artists make physical the unseen. We take the unimaginable and put it into words/movement/imagery. Our sole purpose is to reflect the glory of God!

My calling is to help shepherd art students at the University of Illinois. There are 2,300+ students in the college of Fine and Applied Arts. My goal is to start a revival and help bring redemption through the arts. These students face many struggles and are in desperate need of the Truth. As a staff member of Illini Life, I will be able to establish an arts outreach and help build a community of artists who will boldly proclaim the gospel.  

However, I’m not currently on campus and working because I first need to build a team of people who believe in what I’m doing to support me. I’m looking for partners to join me in this mission through prayer, resources, and financial support. This is an opportunity to be a part of the bigger story God is writing in the lives of students at the University of Illinois. My goal is to be fully funded by August, so I’m ready to meet the thousands of new students coming to campus. If you are interested in joining me in this mission, please send me an email! I would love to meet you and get to know you 🙂

***

That afternoon when Sara shared her vision and ministry with me, I knew I wanted to support her, not just financially, but with prayer and as a friend and fellow artist. She will be reaching other artists, young people who I will probably never meet or have a relationship with. But she will. And I get to be a part of that, and that’s exciting!

If you’re interested in learning more about Sara’s artwork or ministry, or want to talk drop her an email, here are her links:

Ministry: reliant.org/sara.hoag

Artwork: sarapaigeart.com

Email: sara.hoag@reliant.org

Thanks, Sara, for sharing!

Rooglewood Fairy Tale Contest

Once again my friends over at Rooglewood Press are looking for writers to enter their last and final fairy tale contest. Have you always wanted to write your own version of Snow White? Ever wanted to place that classical story in a different setting, or even a different world? Now is your chance! So get out your creative ideas and start writing.

THE FINAL FAIRY TALE CONTEST
Rooglewood Press invites you to join the adventure of the Five Poisoned Apples creative writing contest!

FivePoisonedApples

And here is the cover that will be accompanying the five stories that make it into the collection. Isn’t it lovely? Now go forth and write!

The Importance of Living in Order to Write

enigma-1427049-1280x1920In this day and age where there is pressure for an author to churn out lots of books, I’ve stepped back and realized that when we as writers forget to live—to take those walks, to eat dinner with our families, to spend a half hour in quiet thoughts—we lose the very substance which we write about.

A favorite children’s book of mine is Frederick. In this book, while all the other mice are gathering supplies for winter, Frederick is sitting on a rock and enjoying the sunshine. Or he’s feeling the rain fall on his face. He’s sniffing the flowers and eating a strawberry.

The mice complain, but Frederick just smiles. What they don’t realize is he’s experiencing life. When winter comes and it grows cold and dark, Frederick steps forward and begins to tell them stories of summer. He reminds them what it felt like to feel the sunshine on their faces. He reminds them of the scent of a flower, or the feel of rain. He describes a fresh strawberry so vividly they can almost taste it.

That is what we do as writers. We experience life, then write stories to remind others of life.

A couple weeks ago I was in Chicago with my family. As we walked between the skyscrapers, I talked to my daughter (a budding writer) and asked her to describe the city for me. I had her listen to the sounds of Chicago, the smells, the sights, even the feel (Chicago can be bitterly cold and windy). I told her to remember this as an experience to draw upon if she ever wrote a scene within a big city.

Last month I was up in Michigan. I spent an hour walking around a lake, taking in the feel of the gentle rain falling, smelling the wet soil, listening to the different birds and sounds of the lake, and watching swallows dive for food along the water’s surface. I filed these away to use someday to describe a rainy day on a lake.

But these experiences are not just tied to places. A writer should also study emotions. I remember filing away how it felt the day my dog died, so I could accurately describe grief over death. Or the desperation and depression I felt the year my husband was without work. And what hope felt like when we found a job and a home.

Some life experiences are small and simple: conversations around a dinner table, a walk around the neighborhood at night, how good it feels to finish mowing the grass as I drain a large glass of lemonade.

If a writer spends every day, all day, sitting at a computer writing stories, then slowly they lose touch with the real world, and the substance that would feed their story fades. It is not a bad thing to write lots of books (many times I wish I was a faster writer), but there is something to be said about living and experiencing life, then bringing that life into your story.

Book Update and Awards

Rone AwardThis is really exciting! Tainted is up for two reader’s choice awards, both which are now in their second stage of voting. This means if you enjoyed Tainted and would like to vote for this lovely novel in the second stage, I would greatly appreciate it!

First is the Alliance Award. The requirement for this award is you need to have read two of the books on the list (Tainted counts as one book, so just need to have read one more). Here is the link:
https://faithandfantasyalliancellc.regfox.com/alliance-award-semi-final-voting

And second, because Tainted received a Crowned Heart review from InD’Tale Magazine last year, it is automatically a candidate for the Rone Award. Now that award is in its second phase where you, the reader, get to vote! You need to have an account in order to vote. If you voted for Heir of Hope last year or for their cover contests, just log in. If you do not have an account, there are directions on the award page. Here is the link:
http://indtale.com/2017-rone-awards-week-one

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! Without readers like you who love this book and go the extra mile to tell others about it, Tainted would not be up for these awards. So thank you very much 🙂

But Morgan, I hear you saying, I really loved Tainted and I’ve told all my friends and family about it, but when are we going to get the second book?

I’ve received numerous emails and messages asking me when my next book is coming out and I thought it was high time I updated all of my readers.

First, Awakened, the next book that follows the story of Kat Bloodmayne and Stephen Grey, is all finished. All the edits are done and there is even a cover. Unfortunately, the release date has been pushed back and I don’t know when it will be released. It might be this fall. It might be longer. And for that I apologize! This is one of those things I have no control over, other than I spoke to my editor and the final book will come out one way or another. So do not fear, you will find out how the story ends!

However, I have not been idle while waiting for the release of Awakened. I am now half-way done with the rough draft for a whole new epic fantasy series. The tentative title for the first book is Mark of the Raven.

I hope to share more as I finish up the first book, but if you want, you can take a look at my inspiration board on Pinterest for the characters and places. Here is the link: www.pinterest.com/morganlbusse/mark-of-the-raven/ 

Thank you, everyone, for your patience and support! As soon as I know the release date for Awakened, you will be the first to know!

In Darkness there is Light

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