Feature Fiction Friday – J. Andersen

Today we have fellow Astraea Press author, J. Andersen, with us talking about a couple of her favorite books and how they led to her own writing:

Picking a favorite book is like choosing which of your own children you like best. However, there are a few that stand above the rest for me.

The first would be 1984, by George Orwell. I can remember reading this in high school thinking the concept was so freaky and ahead of its time. This was after 1984, so we talked about the parts of the book that had come true and the parts that were off base. I think what I liked about it was the possibility of reality, the ‘what if this really happened’? It made me think about how I’d respond in a society built upon such ideals. Little did I know, this was the beginning of my dive into a deep love for dystopian literature.

The second book at the top of my list would be THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry. I was first introduced to this book in college when I was taking a young adult literature class. I can remember discussions and the connections to books like 1984. The biggest difference from this book as compared to 1984, at least in my opinion, was that the society set up in The Giver was at least trying to create something better for its people. How often do we try to do that? Create something good and it turns on its head?

It wasn’t very many years later that I was able to teach THE GIVER to middle schoolers. It quickly became a crowd favorite. This was at a time when Young Adult Literature was just beginning to come into its own. It was not a defined genre, much less the dystopian genre. Over the years of teaching and the development of YA and dystopian literature, I kept thinking that I’d love to be able to write a dystopian story, but I never had a good, original idea until The Breeding Tree popped into my head several years later. Hopefully one day kids will read my story and will think, “I wonder how I’d react in a society like this.”

breeding tree

BLURB for The Breeding Tree:
Is the opportunity to create the next generation of life a dream come true or a deadly nightmare?

 

When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.

You can buy The Breeding Tree on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1pOT21y

A little about J. Andersen:

There’s not much to do growing up in a small town in Western, NY, so J. Andersen wrote stories and won high school writing contests. But in college her writing was limited to term papers. While teaching middle school she began to read young adult books and got serious about writing. She now writes full time, volunteers at the town library, helps to run a School of the Arts at her church, and sings in the church band. She enjoys good coffee—read: home roasted by her husband—crafts, baking, running a small essential oil business, and chasing after her children. You’ll rarely see J. without a book in her hands, and that’s the way she’d like to keep it.

 

You can find J. Andersen all over the web:

Website: https://www.jandersenbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jandersenbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JVDLAndersen
Goodreads: https://goodreads.com/jvdlandersen
Instagram: https://instagram.com/jvdlandersen
Snapchat ID: jvdlandersen
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jvdlandersen/


Thanks for sharing with us today J. Andersen!

Feature Fiction Friday – Marlene

Aunt Marlene, the biggest influence on my early love of Regency, has many favorite books and she’s back to tell us about another one 🙂

Pride

As many others do, I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen knows how to develop characters and although one must have patience to read her (consider the years in which she wrote) she was truly able to hold my interest. You cannot just skim through P & P……..it is a work of art story-wise. It is almost a study of character written in a love story. Each personality is visible to the mind’s eye. I could be irritated at one while loving the other, and yet she creates understanding for those less loved, (Charlotte) and creates humour with the foolish ones (Mr. Collins, Countess de Burgh) all the while weaving her story through and making her point of view of her times obvious. This should be a read on everyone’s list.

​Thanks for visiting and sharing with us, Marlene!

Feature Fiction Friday – Jean Ann Williams

Today we have Jean Ann Williams talking about her five favorite books.

Here’s a little about Jean:

Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, Just Claire is her first book. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she writes regularly on her blog. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.

Here are her favorite books:

Are You My Mother? (P.D. Eastman), because my own mother disappeared emotionally and stopped being a mother when I was ten. This book showed me I was looking for a mother figure as a child and teen. Reading it as an adult to my own children helped me in my identity without a real mother.
Hatchet (Gary Paulsen), great writing and boy against wilderness/nature. One of my favorite reads, wilderness/nautre against people.
Holy Bible, King James Version (God), because it is a how-to book for our lives on earth and how-to be received into Heaven after the second coming of Jesus.
Sarah, Plain and Tall (Patricia MacLachlan), great writing and love the simplicity of this historical, with so many deep layers of truth about family.
Hattie Big Sky (Kirby Larson), because I also love historicals about women against nature. Great writing.

Just Claire

Jean has recently released a book of her own, Just Claire:

Tag line: One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.
Back Jacket Blurb:
ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

Available from Amazon: ​http://amzn.to/1Vfz6AY

Jean can be found online:

​Blog: http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanAnnWilliams
See a trailer for Just Claire: https://youtu.be/s8x5lJKZFHU

Feature Fiction Friday – Liwen Ho

Today we have writer Liwen Ho talking about her favorite books as well as her own newest book:

I’m thrilled to be sharing about my favorite books with you today. As an only child for the first ten years of my life, I spent a lot of my time reading. I truly appreciate the beauty of the written word and how stories can take you anywhere, anytime. This is a short, but sweet list of five of my favorite books (and authors).

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. Having worked at a crisis pregnancy center before, the topic of unplanned pregnancy is close to my heart. I love how Francine Rivers tackled a very serious issue in a tactful and approachable way. Her writing is also beautiful, like poetry in novel form.
The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I devoured this series as a kid. Maybe it’s because Anne and Diana remind me so much of my own bosom friend and myself or maybe it’s because I adore love/hate relationships like the one Anne and Gilbert had, but thinking about these books can still bring a smile to my face.
Even the Stars by N. Ceves. This is a sci fi Christian romance I had the privilege of beta reading. What I enjoyed most about this book was how much it made me think about people and robots and yes, even theology. It offers a lot more than you’d expect from a romantic novella and with all the warm fuzzies, too.
Only Uni by Camy Tang. This was the first contemporary Christian book I read by an Asian author and it inspired me to write my own stories. I liked how Camy Tang wrote about real, non-cookie cutter Asian characters and weaved spiritual elements into their personal growth.
Any book by Susan Hatler. She’s my go-to author when I want a short, pick-me-up romance story with heart and humor. She writes believable characters and original storylines, which is not always easy to do as a romance author (believe me, I know!).

Drawn to You

Liwen’s Book, Drawn to You, is now available. I’ve already read it and I loved it!

TAGLINE
Can love embrace differences?

BLURB
Wanted: A man who can handle his alter ego. Quick reflexes recommended.

Feisty and adventurous, art teacher Sam Koo is used to getting what she wants, including talking her way out of traffic tickets. When it comes to money matters though, she’s a lost cause. Her studio is in trouble, and there’s no way of charming herself out of this mess.

Police officer Lucas Choi is the last person she expects to rescue her. Handsome and rule-abiding, he was the best—and worst—part of her high school experience. When they meet a decade later, he’s still on her case and quick to point out her flaws.

Their differences drive each other crazy, but also draw them closer. The attraction is tangible, yet so are Sam’s fears. Will she choose to protect her heart or trust the only man who ever rejected her?

EXCERPT

“I hope you know you can’t sweet talk your way out of everything, Sammie Koo.”
Sam’s ears perked up. Where had she heard that line before? Pursing her lips, she took a good look at the officer. Jet black hair. High cheekbones. A dimple in his chin. There was something familiar about him, particularly that dimple. If only she could see his eyes. “Do I know you? No one calls me Sammie anymore.” Her eyes roamed over his well-defined chest and over his name tag again. “Choi. Wait a minute. Lucas Choi, is that you?”
The officer lowered his sunglasses onto the bridge of his nose. “Hey, Sammie. It’s good to see you, too.”
Her jaw dropped when she met his gaze. Those eyes. She would recognize them anywhere. Brown irises so light in color that they had flecks of green and gold in them. Once upon a time those eyes, so uncommon for an Asian, made her envious, but now they completely infuriated her. Judging from his haughty expression, she could tell he was taking way too much pleasure in tormenting her. It figures he went into law enforcement. Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes loved nothing more than following the rules and making those who didn’t pay for it.
Not much had changed since the last time they crossed paths, except that she had her hands free today. She looked around for something to throw, settling for a fistful of candy wrappers, and tossed them at him. “How long were you going to mess with me? I can’t believe you let me beg you for mercy! Stop wasting my time. I know you want to write me up, so do it.”
He brushed off an orange Kit Kat wrapper stuck to his pressed shirt. “Hey now, settle down, Firecracker. I could arrest you for assaulting an officer.”
Heat flared from her neck up to her cheeks, likely causing her complexion to match the red highlights in her hair. Oh, how she hated his nickname for her. “Oh, please. Assault you with what—paper cuts? Or maybe the overpowering aroma of chocolate? If you want to arrest me, Squealer, go ahead. It’s not the first time you got me put in handcuffs.”
“Now, now, there’s no need for name-calling, Miss Koo. We’re both adults here.”
“You started it.” Sam wrinkled her nose at how juvenile she sounded. Why did he have to bring out the worst in her? And how did he manage to look so cool and composed? It wasn’t fair. She swiped at some wisps of hair that were stuck to her damp forehead. “I don’t know why you enjoy tormenting people. What did I ever do to you?”
“Someone has a short-term memory. Need I remind you that you left me to do all the experiments in chem class and then tried to copy my answers? We weren’t assigned as lab partners so you could flirt with the jocks while I did all the work.”
“Ah! I see what’s going on. You were jealous.”
“Jealous?”
“Of all the attention I got. Admit it. You’re still jealous I got elected Student Body President and you didn’t.”
“You got lucky. There were more guys than girls at school. Of course they voted for the prettier candidate. It was a no-brainer.”
Sam covered her open mouth to feign shock. “Did you just say something nice about me? What’s the catch, Lucas? Do you have a hidden police cam on you?”
“I said you’re prettier than me, but we both know I’m the more handsome one. Let’s not forget who got crowned Homecoming King.”
A genuine smile crossed Sam’s face for the first time that day. Lucas was still as charming as ever, in an annoyingly appealing kind of way. “You’re still such a dork. We both won that night. I was Homecoming Queen.”
“I remember. It was the one time we didn’t try to kill each other.”
“You almost maimed me with your gigantic lead feet. Come on, how hard is it to slow dance without stepping on your partner’s toes?”
“Apparently, very hard when the girl doesn’t allow you to lead.”
Sam crossed her arms and faked a laugh. “Ha! You just don’t know how to handle a strong, independent woman.”
“I think the word you meant to say was stubborn.”

Get it from Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1VMTb2q

Liwen can be found online:
Her website:  www.2square2behip.com
Facebook:  ​https://www.facebook.com/2square2behip
Twitter:  ​@2square2behip

 

 

 

Feature Fiction Friday – CeeCee James

Welcome, CeeCee James and congratulations on the recent release of your new book! First, here are CeeCee’s thoughts on her favorite books:

My journey as an author first started as a child who loved to read. Growing up in a household that was often painful, in and out of foster care, I made my escape in several favorite books, who continue to be favorites to this day.
My first favorite that is near and dear to my heart is the James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small series. Those four books made me laugh, cry, and feel like there was a place of goodness and hope still in this word that set me on my own personal journey to find that place. He was an amazing author.
My second favorite books are the C.S. Lewis series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Yes! Still a favorite. It was here I saw other kids escape to new lands, and I lived vicariously through them. They reminded me to be brave, and continue to look for the beauty and whimsy in the world. I adored reading them out loud to my own children, over cups of hot cocoa.
As an adult, my favorites have gone far and wide. But nothing has yet measured up to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. His world building skills continue to hold me in awe.
These books have influenced my own writing, which centers on the main characters emotional journey. I try to drop in whimsy, and beautiful moments that are all around us all the time.

Thanks for letting me share!
CeeCee James

Beautiful Wreck

This week CeeCee’s new book released, A Beautiful Wreck, a standalone novel that concludes her Second Chance trilogy. Here’s a short blurb:

Her love may heal him, but his secret may destroy her.
One terrifying, emotional mission to return a family heirloom sends Cassie on an unexpected search for the person she never knew she needed.
Luke is tough, strong, and was once the best cop in town. Until the mob took away the one person he ever wanted. Now he’s trapped in fear over the man he’s become.

 

Cassie wants to bring him redemption, but fears she will never open her heart again.Each is the only one who can understand the other.If they’d just let their walls down.

Sounds great! I can’t wait to read it 🙂

Here’s the Amazon link so you can pick one up for yourself: http://amzn.to/1PfZP9A

A little about CeeCee James:

CeeCee James is a wife, mom, owner of two mini-dashchunds, writer, and watercolor artist. Most of all, she is a survivor. The story about overcoming strife is one that resonates with her. She lived it herself. An advocate for adult survivors of child abuse, her Ghost No More series is her true story of surviving and healing from childhood trauma.
Her fictional series, Wrecked and Yours, is about love, secrets and navigating life. It’s romantic, uncertain and messy, like life often is. It describes their season to make a choice, “look at life honestly and deal with it, or continue to run away.” CeeCee absolutely loved writing it, and hopes it resonates with you because everyone has an important story of what they’ve overcome.

CeeCee can be found online here:
Her blog: http://joyfullivingpafterchildabuse.blogspot.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/CeeCee-James/e/B00IJNN6LA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeeCeeJamesAuthor

Author Page

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