All posts by Morgan L. Busse

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the epic fantasy Follower of the Word series and the award-winning steampunk series, The Soul Chronicles. Her debut novel, Daughter of Light, was a Christy and Carol Award finalist. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

Book Preview: Armor of Aletheia

Hello friends! It’s my pleasure to introduce you to a brand new fantasy series by my friend Ralene Burke! I had the pleasure of reading this story a couple years ago and its exciting to finally see it in print! Sacred quests, a prophetess-queen, and powerful armor, this has lots of fantasy flare for all fantasy readers 🙂 First, here is the cover:

RGB_Armor of Aletheia _ R. Burke_DB_073118

A world in danger. A queen betrayed. A bounty hunter bent on revenge.

The death of her king changes Karina’s life forever. Fleeing the royal house, she must leave her life behind to seek out the Armor of the Creator–to save the very people who now hunt her. 

Faramos, the evil warlock waiting to unleash hell, knows the Creator has already chosen his warrior, so he sends his bounty hunter to retrieve her. After Tristan abducts her, he witnesses Karina’s gentle nature and strong independence, and he finds he can’t complete his assignment. 

Together, they set out to retrieve the armor and defeat the hordes of creatures sent to destroy them. But is Tristan’s heart secure as he faces certain death for defending the queen? And will Karina have the courage to become all the Creator intends her to be? Failure will condemn the world to eternal darkness.

Seriously, if you love fantasies, then check out the first book in Ralene’s series! Here’s where you can buy Armor of Aletheia: https://www.amazon.com/Armor-Aletheia-Sacred-Trilogy-Book

ralene-HR-4

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND their circumstances! Her novels, Bellanok and Armor of Aletheia are available on Amazon.

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

You can also find her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or at her website.

Pastor Appreciation Month

pastor appreciation

Let me tell you a story. I’ve served in children’s ministry for years. At one point, the area I served in chose to pause over the summer. When we started back up in the fall, the response we received wasn’t, “Thanks! I appreciate having a safe place for my child to be during service.” or “How was your summer? Did you get some rest?” or “I am so grateful for you guys.” It was, “Will you provide children’s ministry again?” I and those who served with me had become nameless helpers who’s only job was to serve in children’s ministry and nothing more. It hurt.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s how we treat our pastors. Being married to a pastor means I see more than most people get to see: I see how much my husband prays for the church he is serving at, I see how many hours he prays and pours over God’s Word and books so that he can preach every week in hopes of bringing people closer to God, I see when he wakes up at 3am to pray for the church or to write down a sermon idea (Dan plans out his sermons almost a year in advance, tweaking where he needs to and changing when he feels God leading him otherwise. In other words, he works very hard!). Not only that, he meets with the brokenhearted, connects with other pastors in the area so they can hold each other accountable, and constantly is reading, listening to podcasts, and learning from other Christians leaders so he can be as faithful of a pastor as he can be, along with leading his family and loving us.
But sometimes I think he, along with many other pastors, become faceless servants of the church. He’s expected to preach, that’s what he’s paid to do, right? (note: most pastors are paid very little). And he’s here for the congregations’s benefit, to make the church a happy and safe place for everyone. And if people don’t like it, it’s all right to complain until change happens.
Instead of appreciating our pastors, we treat them the same way I was treated at the end of the summer. “Will you provide ______ again? Will you preach what I want to hear? Will you provide the ministry I want to be part of? Will you meet all of my spiritual and emotional needs?” (which honestly, only God can do that, not your pastor).
This month is Pastor Appreciation month. Instead of wondering what your pastor can do next for you, take a moment instead and just say, “thank you.” Thanks for being my pastor. Thank you for loving us and praying for us. I’m thankful God brought you here.
You might not realize how much your pastor might need to hear these words.

Decency, Integrity, and Respect in Romance Scenes

dead-reds-1317346-1279x885The #metoo movement and recent exposure of sexual harassment and more in the Christian publishing world has made me take a closer look at how romance is portrayed in stories. What I’ve discovered has given me pause. The very things and situations we are condemning in the real world have quietly slip into books and perhaps it’s time to take a look at these situations and ask are we feeding into the very thing we want to abolish?

I’ll give two examples. In a recent webcomic I’ve been reading, the female main character has clearly shown her heart to be attached to one character. But another male character continues to intrude into her space (pinning her to the wall, making suggestive comments, and trying to kiss her). It’s the usual love triangle, but I can’t help but think if this was going on in the real world, this character is crossing lines when it comes to this woman. She’s told him no, and he’s not respecting her words, or her space, or her being. It might seem romantic since he’s a hot, muscly, sexy guy, which hormones can make it seem like the woman is being pulled toward him (and she is, because hormones), but she doesn’t like the guy.

Another example is from the manga/anime Seven Deadly Sins. The main character repeatedly looks up the female character’s skirt. At first she doesn’t know what to think, then she shyly tells him no. And she keeps telling him now, but he keeps on doing it. It’s a running joke and one that is disrespectful, rude, and definitely crossing lines. And he’s the hero of the story!

These are just two examples I see in stories (I won’t even talk about Fifty Shades of you know what). Situations and scenes where a man is using his power, influence, and ability to seduce a woman. This is not romantic, my friends. This is predatory and not how I would want my daughters pursued by a man!

The strongest, most romantic man is the one who looks beyond his desires and wants to do what’s best for the woman he loves. He shows her respect. He listens to her words. He acts with integrity. Does this mean he’s a prude? Not at all! It means he keeps his heart and his actions in check even when he is longing for her.

As writers, one way we can help the readers in our sphere of influence is to show what real romance looks like, and to shun scenes where a man is taking advantage of a woman (and vice versa). If we want to help stop this predatory view of love, it starts with the love scenes in our books. Let us create male characters who are passionate, but keep their hearts in check and show respect and decency toward female characters. And female characters who stand up for themselves and tell a man firmly no (and that is perfectly okay for a woman to say no to a man, and for a man to listen). Perhaps by doing this, we can help usher in a real world of decency, integrity, and respect for both men and women.

Tainted and Awakened are on Sale!

_The Soul Chronicles_Hello friends! To celebrate Awakened being a Carol Award finalist, I’m excited to share that the ebook versions of both Tainted and Awakened are on sale! Yeah! So if you haven’t read my Frankenstein-style Victorian steampunk story about a young woman turning into a monster from the inside out, now is your chance. And just in time for some great October reading 🙂

Link to Tainted

Link to Awakened

Influencers for Mark of the Raven

MotR Influencer image

Hey everyone! Who’s excited for the release of Mark of the Raven (Me! Me!)? As we draw closer to November, I am now putting together a team of readers who want to help me not only launch this book, but any books in the future (such as Flight of the Raven coming in July 2019 ;).

I was thinking up some names for this group (Morgan’s Minions? Nah. Morgan’s Monkeys? Nah. Morgan’s Monsters? Nah.). As you can tell, I’m having a hard time. So I’ll put that aside for now (but if you have an awesome name, please PM me!). Until then, I’ll explain how you can become part of this group of amazing readers and receive a free book 🙂

Here are my requirements:

  • Be willing to read the book.
  • Must leave a honest review of the book on your choice of book site (Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, etc…) within a month of the book release.
  • Share on one or more social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc…) leading up to and on the release date.

 

Now you might be thinking, “I already do this because I love your books!” That’s kind of what I was thinking because that’s what awesome readers do :). But for clarity’s sake, I thought I should share what is expected of book influencers.

So are you interested? Want to help me with the release of Mark of the Raven and future books? Then click on the link below and fill out the form. I’m looking for engaging readers, so not everyone will be chosen for this opportunity, and spots are limited, so don’t wait.

https://goo.gl/forms/sgjvXzLyQVWoiGhL2

Thank you!

Morgan

Mark of the Raven Giveaway

Winners of the Mark of the RavenGiveaway

I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of fun seeing all the raven tattoos all over the internet! Thank you, my friends and readers, for sharing your excitement for my next series and letting others know. Now for the real reason you’re reading this post 😉

Ready?

 

 

Are you sure?

 

 

Okay, here you go!

Congratulations to these three people who have each won a signed copy of Mark of the Raven!

 

Caleb Lang

Andrew King

Marla Schultz

 

Yeah!!! I have privately contacted each of you and you will be receiving a signed copy of Mark of the Raven in November. If you were not one of the winners, take heart, there will be more chances to win a signed copy as the release date for the Mark of the Raven draws near, so be watching for a blog post or newsletter announcement. And if you haven’t already pre-ordered, Christianbook.com currently as the paperback available for $9.99 (best price right now and better than coffee at Starbucks 😉

~Morgan

 

Here’s what others are saying about Mark of the Raven:

Mark of the Raven grabbed me from the first moment and didn’t let go. Cliché to say? Maybe. Doesn’t make it any less true. Layered characters, an epic storyline, and strong writing make this a tale to be savored.”

—James L. Rubart, bestselling author of The Man He Never Was

 

“Stunning! Mark of the Raven is a captivating adventure that plumbs the depths of humanity’s soul. Busse’s deftly drawn characters offer a refreshing break from the tropes of most fantasy novels. I can’t wait for the next book!”

—Ronie Kendig, bestselling, award-winning author of The Tox Files and Abiassa’s Fire

 

Mark of the Raven is a rich fantasy set in a world of great powers and dark secrets. Fast-paced and sure to please, Morgan Busse has delivered a novel that sticks with you. When you wake from your next nightmare, try to tell yourself ‘It was just a dream.’”

—Patrick W. Carr, author of The Darkwater Saga

 

“A great new fantasy adventure from Morgan L. Busse, Mark of the Raven fulfills every expectation. This fast-paced heroic fantasy was a pleasure to read with its with dreamwalkers, political machinations, mystery, romance, and a world on the brink of war. Readers will be transfixed as Lady Selene struggles with the calling placed upon her. I’m so looking forward to the next book in the series.”

—Jill Williamson, Christy Award-winning author of The Kinsman Chronicles and Blood of Kings

 

“Contrasting an atmosphere of dark politics against the illumination of hope, Mark of the Raven took flight on the page, swooping me into its magically layered yet fully accessible world. With vividly conflicted characters and danger lurking around every bend, this series starter left me breathless for its sequel. Brilliant!”

—Serena Chase, author of Eyes of E’veria

A Chance to Win a Signed Copy of Mark of the Raven

Dear friends,

Here it is! The first giveaway for the first book in my new fantasy series, Mark of the Raven!

When I was brainstorming creative swag for Mark of the Raven, a friend suggested temporary tattoos of the raven symbol from my book. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how brilliant that was (you know, “mark” of the raven, heehee). Here’s the final tattoo image:

ravenjpeg

I am offering these tattoos exclusively to those attending Realm Makers and to all my readers for free. And if you want to enter the contest I’m holding for Mark of the Raven, here’s the guide:

1) Take tattoo and place it somewhere (on your arm, on your computer, on your friend’s forehead).
2) Take picture of tattoo.
3) Post picture on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter, say something about Mark of the Raven, and tag Morgan L. Busse.
4) Three winners will be chosen on August 15, 2018, so post your picture before then.

Yes, three winners will receive a signed copy of Mark of the Raven when it comes out in November! Yeah!

So how do you get your tattoo? I mail one to you 🙂 If you want to enter (or just want one of these fabulous tattoos, or a couple to give to friends and family), please email me your address (morganlbusse@live.com). I will do nothing more with your address than mail you how many tattoos you want (and mail you a book if you win!).

Have fun!

Carol Award Finalist and Other Things

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me! I’ve traveled across numerous states, visited some beautiful places, spent lots of wonderful time with my family, finished my edits on Flight of the Raven, book 2 of the Ravenwood Saga, and…

I FOUND OUT AWAKENED IS A CAROL AWARD FINALIST! YEAH!

Awakened 3

So that’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while. If you want to see the pictures from my travels, check out my Instagram account (I also post pics of my books and pets because they are so cute!).

Next week I’ll be at Realm Makers and if you live in the St. Louis area, come see me at the Realm Makers Book Festival 🙂

Also, I’ll be having my very first giveaway for a signed copy for Mark of the Raven, so be watching (or better yet, sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out).

Book Highlight: The Story Peddler

The Story Peddler Blog Tour Banner

Hey everyone! I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Lindsay A. Franklin and her debut novel, The Story Peddler. First, a little history. I met Lindsay Franklin years ago (like, almost ten years ago) at a writing conference. Both of us were eager writers who were just starting to pitch our novels. Fast forward to today: I’m now the published author of five novels with my next one coming out in November. And Lindsay is the bestselling author of an awesome young women’s devotional and is about to present to the world her first fantasy novel. Yeah!!! How far we have come 🙂

First, her cover is awesome and I must share it because it is awesome!
The-Story-Peddler-Cover

Happy sigh. So pretty! And here’s the story you’ll find inside this beautiful book:

Selling stories is a deadly business

Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories–she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down…and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers…and they’re after her too.

The Story Peddler received a starred review from Library Journal. Don’t miss out on this book for you, for your friends, for everyone!

Purchase Links

AmazonBarnes & Noble Books-A-MillionChristianBook.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36327140-the-story-peddler

 

Oh, and did I mention there is also a giveaway happening during this tour? Here’s what you have a chance to win:

Story Peddler Giveaway

Enter to win a signed print copy of The Story Peddler (not pictured), a blue strand book sleeve (not pictured), custom Story Peddler bookmark, a fluffhopper sticker, and a set of five mini Story Peddler art prints! (US only.)

Link: giveawaytools2.com/giveaway.php?sk=57705600234

 

About the Author

Lindsay A. FranklinLindsay A. Franklin is an award-winning author, award-winning freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. She spends a lot of time in made-up worlds, and she’s passionate about sparking imagination through stories of infinite possibility. Her debut fantasy novel, The Story Peddler, releases in 2018. When she’s not exploring the fantastical, she’s exploring the Bible and encouraging young women through her devotional books (click here for more information on Adored).

Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her husband (master of the dad joke), their awesomely nerdy kids, two thunder pillows (AKA cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following (@therealwombatman). You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn’t hijacked all her accounts. She’s @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and she Facebooks at www.facebook.com/LindsayAFranklin.

Email list sign-up link: http://eepurl.com/bwF64j

 

 

 

 

What Does it Mean to Really Forgive Someone?

What does it mean to really forgive someone_My husband Dan shared a great message about forgiveness this past Sunday. We know we are to forgive those who have wounded us (see my post on Bullet Wounds), but sometimes the “how” eludes us. I thought I would share what I’ve been going through over the last week to show my own journey into forgiveness.

I won’t go into the details, but a person in our lives has hurt us deeply, so much that when we received the letter from her lawyer, I was in shock and very angry. It is one thing to know there is evil in the world, but sometimes I want to believe there is still integrity and fairness in people since that is how I operate. When you come face to face with reality, it’s a hard blow.

Over the next couple of days, I could hardly breathe. It was like there was such a heaviness sitting on my chest, such a gaping hole, that I could hardly function. Every time I thought of the situation, I wanted to fight back. And we could, our case is much stronger than hers.

But then God reminded me of the parable of the servant who was forgiven a debt of millions of dollars, but then that servant turned around and went after another servant who owed him a measly amount. God showed me with everything He’s forgiven me, $1,400 isn’t much to forgive. I couldn’t shake that image from my mind.

Last night, I woke up feeling wounded, hurt, and angry again. Does that mean I hadn’t forgiven her? I don’t believe so. Real wounds take time. You can forgive, but there is still hurt as the wound heals. You know what you do with the hurt? You take it to God. Every minute. Every hour.

I prayed over and over again last night, even telling God I’m not strong enough to forgive such hurtfulness, that I needed His strength to do it. It took almost two hours of wrestling and crying. There were moments when I wondered if I was being weak since we were choosing not to fight. But then God reminded me the weapons she was using: intimidation and lawyers, were not the weapons for me to use. He also showed me another battle going on: the one for her soul. She is trapped by greed and the things of this world. So instead of hating her, I needed to pray for her.

I’m still hurting this morning. And I probably will hurt for a while. As someone who is a fair and just person, to experience such injustice committed toward my family is painful. But as Easter approaches, I remember the one I follow. At the end, Jesus said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” If Jesus could forgive those who committed such atrocities toward Him, then I can forgive the hurt committed toward me.

Not alone, but with His help.