The Master’s Garden describes the relationship between God and his children with a beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends. What was the inspiration for this metaphor?
Jesus used the metaphor that He was the Vine, God the Father is the Gardener, and that we are the branches. I have over 40 years’ experience in dealing with plants, both professionally and personally so I understand how plants work more than the average person. It was a natural extrapolation for me to expand it to all plants. It came to me one day while hiking in the woods. It was really fun to write!
What were some themes you felt were important to focus on in this book?
God loves all of us and wants us all be to belong to Him and come under His care through His Son, Jesus.
God, the Master Gardener, wants to have a growing, dynamic relationship with each one of us. I tried to portray this with the intimate and personal discussions that New Dawn has with the Gardener.
Living as a Christian the way God wants seems impossible. That’s because we think we are to live in our own strength. Jesus teaches us the only way to live rightly is through His power and strength not our own. We cannot do it, but He can.
True significance and enjoyment, the Abundant Life, are achieved by living God’s way through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Violet’s character was delightful and well developed. What were some ideas that guided her character development?
Violet represents, in many ways, most of us who struggle with inadequacy and a longing to be loved and valued as an individual. New Dawn, the main character in the allegory, is me. While the allegory doesn’t exactly follow my life’s journey, it is a close representation of it. It is my story of how God has transformed this self-condemning, insignificant and pathetic person into one who now has joy, peace, confidence, and significance—true riches! All to the credit and honor of my magnificent Creator!
Do you have more stories planed that take place in Plantasia?
Absolutely! I am working on the sequel already, as well as several Bible studies and devotionals to go along with this first book.
In the gospel of John, Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and His Father is the Gardener. He explains that His followers are the branches and need to remain in the Vine and bear much fruit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by that or how remaining in the Vine might look in your daily life? Then enter into the fantasy world of Plantasia™ where plants come alive! This is a witty tale told by a grandmother to help her struggling granddaughter find true significance under God’s care. The Master Gardener created this beautiful world where plants can think, see, hear, and speak. He longs for all to come under His loving care and be grafted onto His beloved Vine. Through this connection, plants are able to flourish and reach their full potential. See what happens when a spindly rose, who yearns to be more than she is, meets the Master Gardener. Listen in on the conversations she has with the Gardener, Mighty Oak, Ginni (the Obedient Plant), and Mr. Bugleweed. Learn with her as she discovers the secrets of how to abide in the Vine and experience true riches. If you enjoyed the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places, you will love this allegory of abiding in Christ, the Vine!
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Carnival Panic is a dystopian game show where contestants must solve dangerous room puzzles to claim a life changing prize. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
The initial inspiration for this novel occurred when I walked through the Kyari Pamyu Pamyu museum in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. While there, I saw a display called “Candy Forest!” with unsettling pink rabbit statues, seen here https://matcha-jp.com/en/688. As I exited, I thought that what I had seen would make a great horror story. I pulled out my notebook and began sketching and writing ideas. I wrote about 10,000 words and then got stuck and put the story away for a few years.
It wasn’t until I went on an outing to Sanrio Puroland that I was able to continue writing the story. I often describe that day as one of the most uncomfortably horrible experiences I have ever had at a theme park. I had agreed to go to Puroland with a couple of friends, not knowing exactly what it was. After entering through the theme park gates, I realized that I was completely outside of my comfort zone.
On top of the immense claustrophobia were the inescapable sensory explosions. The air was pumped with all manner of sweet smells, there was constant music from individual speakers to the parades, it was hot due to the high summer temperatures, and there were lights everywhere both strobing and stationary. And when we stopped for lunch, all the food was of the sweetest kind; candied and dessert versions of its real counterparts. In contrast to my unpleasant experience, my friends were ecstatic and enjoyed every moment of that theme park, playing on the toys, going on the rides, and shopping with childlike enthusiasm.
On the train home, I knew exactly what I could write about and that became Carnival Panic.
What was the process like for imagining and writing the different rooms and puzzles you have in the book?
For the most part, the inspiration for the rooms came from various areas of Sanrio Puroland that I visited but with more sinister aspects. I also love to watch anime and at the time I was binging Deadman Wonderland so some of the themes from that anime made their way into the novel.
Your characters were all well developed and interesting. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Fletch. I enjoyed writing from her point of view because she is an unapologetic anarchist.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have two finished novels at the moment which I am querying for publication. A science fiction alien invasion novel called Darkness in a Sky of Embers and a narrative fiction novel called Elephants Have No Sleeves.
As for currents projects, I am working on a supernatural murder mystery that follows the main character, Tzipora, who comes back from the dead to find her murderer.
Candy makes the PonPon Bunnies sweet. Be careful if they’re angry. And watch out for traps! These are the dangers of competing in the Carnival Panic game show, a ruthless competition that tests the chosen competitors with mental and physical struggles. In order to claim the substantial monetary prize, the winner must solve a series of room puzzles and succeed in entertaining the fickle masses.
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Eli is so many things. It’s funny, heart warming, passionate, creative and engaging. It’s a fiction story written with great depth. Animal books are always fun to read and the author gives life to a cat-dog relationship. I was expecting an adventure story but was pleasantly surprised to find that there’s more action that any reader will enjoy. Eli is an ambitious kitten that is born into a family of loving parents. This daring kitten is tasked with a dangerous mission and Eli is destined to fulfill it in one piece. It’s a dangerous road to take but work must be done. A supportive family is a pillar and source of hope and strength for Eli, his brother and sister are a motivation to him. Written with great compassion, this book is insightful with the writers voice being fluid, captivating and real.
Eli by Sherralee Tinney is a innovative work of art where every detail is laid out with a purpose. The author’s prose flows seamlessly with this book and relays a rich humanity in the animals. I think this is a great children’s book with a unique twist that shows that animals are strong and determined and have a desire to protect. I think this book will inspire creativity in children and express upon young readers the importance of respecting even the smallest things. Eli overcomes a great many obstacles and it’s relatable with real life challenges, therefore learning to solve a problem, or eliminate it is a good lesson, not giving up along the way. A child will look up to the strength a parent shows, as Eli’s father is strong even when injured, so does a child sees his/her own parents.
This is not your usual cat and dog story, Sherralee Tinney showcases her creativity, which captures the essentials of the human soul. Boys and girls will like this book, it willl also teach them that getting out of their comfort zone can allow them to do great things. For an adult reader this is a quick read, but this shouldn’t be too long for children as well. Children are naturally animal lovers, and a kid would easily relate to an animal story of heroism and be motivated. Sherralee Tinney has captured the hearts of animal lovers in a fun and refreshing story and I’m sure every reader will have at least one ‘aww’ moment as they read. Eli is an inspirational book that I heartily recommend.
Pages: 296 | ASIN: B0793Q9L6K
Tags: action, adventure, animal, author, book, book review, bookblogger, cat, childrens book, ebook, ELI, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, pet, read, reader, reading, sherralee tinney, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing, young reader
Liberty Bound by Nathaniel M. Wrey is a novel set thousands of years in the future from our present day, where a small city, Athenia, remains as the last known beacon of civilization. Finbarl is the main character, and he works to protect the city from the threat of Ferrals, a supposed sub-human race of creatures that seek to destroy the city, if they could ever breach the walls. Inside the city, Finbarl and the other soldiers addictively rely on the Jumblar plant to keep them sharp and ready for the threat.
The novel certainly brims with creativity, which stands in contrast with the rigid system that the characters live with in their lonesome city. There are many varied issues with class and social standing, and Liberty Bound seeks to create meaningful commentary regarding them. The author has developed a fascinating arrangement of a post apocalyptic civilization and tries to use these societal systems to bring about a provocative purpose for their existence in terms of the story told.
However, the story excels within Finbarl’s decisions and the consequences of those choices. He eventually finds himself at odds with the society he has worked so hard to become a part of, and he must decide what he is going to do once he is no longer able to remain within the social structure provided by the city. Will Finbarl find a way to re-enter the good standing in his society, or will he strive to make bigger changes to the city and the people within it? The question was clear throughout the story and I enjoyed watching Finbarl’s evolution as the novel progressed. I could empathize with his character and that connection made the novel thrilling.
All the while, the threat of the Ferral remains, putting pressure on every character, making every decision carry much more weight. The story thrives on this tension, and it makes the pages very easy to turn.
Pages: 227 | ASIN: B087YXKKT3
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James has no memory of who he is or where he came from. He was found unconscious in a steaming crater in the frozen North, and it’s only thanks to the kindness of the local man who found him that he is still alive. As James begins to find out more about his past and about the strange, cruel world around him, he realizes that he’s far from the average person and that the fate of not just the Earth but of all the planets and dimensions in existence rests on his shoulders.
The strongest aspect of Seventh Journey Book 2 by Robert J. R. Graham is the plot, which is gripping and fast-paced. Each scene leaves the reader hungry to find out what happens next. There is danger around every corner, with weird and terrifying creatures such as a gigantic and deadly scorpions threatening the protagonists. Graham provides a detailed and intriguing settings for his electrifying novel that showcases his imagination. The story takes place in multiple dimensions, each one different from the last, alternating between being beautiful or terrifying. The way in which the dimensions connect and how they affect each other is one of the most interesting aspects of the book.
Some readers might find the explanations for certain plot points such as multiple dimensions and reincarnation to be complex, but overall the book isn’t weighed down by too much scientific info-dumping. The central plot remained coherent and gripping. While this book presents many intriguing ideas and fascinating settings, the dialogue occasionally comes off stilted, and the story could benefit from more colorful language that compliments the dramatic scenery and thrilling plot. Jacob is an intriguing character and his relationship with Tamara was something I wanted to see explored a little further, as well as Jacob’s interactions with the other characters.
Despite these minor things, Seventh Journey Book 2 is still and immensely enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking novel with an interesting plot featuring fantastical creatures, imaginative sci-fi settings, and nail-biting suspense, then you’ll find plenty in Seventh Journey Book 2.
Pages: 230 | ASIN: B0792HGC35
Tags: action, adventure, apocalyptic, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Robert J Graham, science fiction, scifi, Seventh Journey, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Catrin is living a nightmare. She has become a slave, is used and abused as a woman disguised as a soldier, and the love of her life doesn’t remember the passion that once existed between them. Catrin is as feared as much as she is taken for granted. Considered to have powers that far outshine the abilities and skills of any soldier, she is allowed to live and protected even though she isn’t respected. Marcellus, her love, now under the spell of another, can’t quite shake the feeling that something is not right–something he can’t explain but leaves him feeling empty and broken. Catrin knows, but will she be able to tell him in time?
Amulet’s Rapture, by Linnea Turner, continues the journey of young Catrin. Her life, very different from that of previous installments, is a daily struggle for survival. She is only allowed to live because she is deemed valuable and believed to have the ability to speak directly with the sun god. Catrin is put through ghastly tasks and treated with little respect even though she is offered the opportunity to train as a warrior priestess. Playing along with the idea that she is all-powerful is the only thing that seems to keep her from being killed.
Catrin’s visions are an important part of the plot–the thread woven discreetly throughout the story that ties all of the elements neatly together. The images she conjures are vivid and touching. The author uses them expertly to pull in elements from previous installments. These little trips into Catrin’s past are especially helpful if listening to this as a stand alone.
The audio version of Amulet’s Rapture is a fascinating listen. The narrator absolutely nails tone, character changes, and emphasis. In addition, the particularly intense scenes in which Catrin is being threatened are completely captivating when read by the narrator, Kristen James. What would be moving moments if read in paperback or Kindle become quite terrifying and extremely uncomfortable when listening to the narrator’s interpretation of the text–the story is truly brought to life.
I believe this installment is completely readable as a stand alone text. The author provides quite a bit of background, and Catrin’s visions give readers a nice glance back at previous plots. One cannot read Tanner’s work without calling it romance. Though it is primarily a fantasy, readers who seek a strong romantic feel to their fantasies will appreciate Tanner’s writing. She peppers her plot with just enough of these steamy scenes to keep romance fans invested.
Audio Length: 11 hours and 11 minutes | ASIN: B0887Y9WLY
Tags: adventure, Amulet’s Rapture, audible, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, linnea tanner, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
The sixth installment in Hugo V. Negron’s electrifying fantasy series Forging of a Knight, Darksiege Triumphant, follows Qualtan and his new wife Vanessa, and his right-hand half-orcne friend Glaive as they settle into their new life in the School of the Mages. This is where Qualtan spent much of his boyhood years. Life in the Great Forest only remains idyllic for so long. A significant betrayal within the walls of the School sends Qualtan and his friends into action against the forces of Those That Stand in Shadow in this fast-paced, action-packed novel that is complete with plot twists and turns to keep the fantasy-loving reader duly enthralled.
I have followed this series for a few books thus far and appreciate the depth of both the characters and the plot. Negron has a gift for building both aspects of the novel in a way that is tasteful, rich, and moves the story along. Qualtan, for instance, has a penchant for good over honor. He is inclined to choose the most ethical option available over what is considered “good” in a political sense. However, even his character is multidimensional enough to understand that all his choices have consequences, and at parts of the novel he clearly wrestles with these moral dilemmas. Even though readers are only introduced to Vanessa in the fifth installment of Negron’s series, her character is just as developed. She loves Qualtan and knows in her heart that she has made the right choice in abandoning her previous life to be with him, but she still feels the guilt of her former identity and struggles at times to be at peace with her newfound place in the School.
This installment has multiple story lines that convene, both directly and indirectly, to form one overall story line. These story lines keep the content entertaining and interesting, while still maintaining direction. The authenticity of the relationships between the different characters, such as that between Qualtan and Bartholomew and that between Vanessa and Muirna, truly makes the novel feel as if it is its own world – which, in fact, it very much is.
Darksiege Triumphant is a stellar choice for anyone seeking a dynamic fictional tale that only gains depth as the reader makes their way through the series. I am excited for the next book in the Forging of a Knight series to arrive and look forward to what the author has in store for his readers.
Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07DFPM1Q5
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The Warrior Arises follows a young fairy who must survive a world suddenly turned on its head and face world-changing challenges. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
My story is allegorical. I was inspired by C.S. Lewis and John Bunyan for a genre. But I was also inspired by my four military children and our life as a family who serves our country. I wanted to create parable-like circumstances that the reader could relate to—showing real-life situations in a fairytale setting—raising awareness of our world problems, such as bullying, fear, drug addiction, or human trafficking. I intended to introduce the gospel subtly to those who may not know a loving father. Beathra represents Jesus, and the fire seed our connection to him. The Whisper is the Holy Spirit, and the Great Ghost warrior in the Sky is Father God.
I wanted to create a character similar to that of David and Esther, where others may have been overlooked and viewed as insignificant. Still, God hid great gifts in a very common or dismissed individuals.
Ruby is a unique and intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
Ruby is based on me and my childhood. Many of the stories are real, like the bullying, harassment, social anxiety, and even the cruel teacher and practical jokes. It took me years to understand my quirky personality and appreciate it as a gift. I wanted the reader to relate to Ruby’s struggles of academics and social settings. As Ruby faces challenges, she has learned to hear the voice of Beathra and The Whisper and follow their leading. This connection was to display that God is always trying to speak to us; we just need to learn to listen. As for Rubys development: I hoped to show her grow in confidence and self-acceptance. I wanted to show an imperfect hero who makes mistakes, struggles with anxiety or fear, and must grow into her identity and destiny. Many of us feel like a square peg or displaced. As Ruby grows in confidence and strength, hopefully, the readers are encouraged to do the same, and they are inspired to view themselves as rare, rather weird.
I enjoyed the world you’ve created in this book. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?
As with most allegorical tales, I have hidden meanings throughout the story. Hope is the theme, and the enemy of hope is fear and despair. I show how the enemy targets our minds to focus on our biggest fears or insecurities, creating doubt or distrust in our Heavenly Father. The wild gidgies who live in the mountains are those who have run away from their call or fellowship with other believers. They lost heart and now hide from conflict, protecting themselves from future pain. Skawlterrin, of course, is the devil’s playground, luring the rejected, hopeless or desperate soul and offering false hope, a place to belong, and lying about acceptance. The Darphea wilderness is the journey those take running away. Havengothy is a land created to flourish, and for giddies to serve, love, and be loved. But Neeradima is bent on corrupting a world that is full of hope and purpose. The overall theme is to show that sometimes, what tries to destroy us, just might be where we are called to bring change. Ruby losing Sebastian propels her into her purpose, and Lewis and Trixie being tricked by the enemy catapulted them into their destiny.
This is book one in your Light Of Beathra series. What can readers expect in book two?
I actually wrote book two first but felt I need to give a back story to the characters. Book Two is where it really picks up. I want the reader to grow up with the characters. I was careful to keep too much horror from a young reader, but in book two, we will see more of Skawlterrin and evil. We will see a lot more of the liath, Stain. Billick will be a significant presence in Ruby’s life. We will follow Jo and Kody’s recovery from war, and watch Rubys struggle to join the Skyforce. There are character developments with Mr. Ryster, and we will also be introduced to the water gidgies. Kody gets married, and Jo changes careers due to his injuries he sustained. Ruby lives on her own and unknowingly begins to develop into a weapon for the King. We also see more of C.J and Callie and the Hyperion Lions and other marvelous and magical creatures.
Heroes rise from the most unlikely places. For, what others might view as unusual or irrelevant, just might be the surprising weapons needed to defeat an enemy.
If Ruby existed in today’s world, she would possibly be labeled with learning disabilities and perhaps a slight case of social anxiety. She is unusual in many ways. With radiant pink wings and unruly hair, Ruby stands out. But never in the way she wanted to. It is the peculiarity that draws attention to her; from her vivid imagination to her misunderstood sense of humor; Ruby is a rare fairy indeed.
But even in a mysterious world where all is strange and unusual, different isn’t always celebrated.
The story begins at the end of Ruby’s senior year and takes you through an eighteen-month journey. Ruby attends Havengothy Gardening University with her best friends, Sebastian and Ellie. It is during her years of school that Ruby develops a stubbornness to overcome. She was bullied for her poor grades and her wild hair. And if that wasn’t enough, she was a bit of a klutz. But Ruby never let the bullies get the best of her. With the help of her best friends, Ruby was able to pull off some epic pranks of retaliation, usually ending with detention, but the crime was always worth the punishment.
After finding a book in one of her professor’s offices, her real adventures begin. The book documented magical charms that were once used by the caretaker of the garden, Neeradima. Neeradima was a forest spirit that lived in Havengothy long ago. But envy darkened her heart. Exiled for betraying her land, Neeradima had one goal; To destroy the two ruling spirits of her former home. But the only way to hurt them was to wound or distort their beloved creation.
Her servants cunningly lure the victims away from their safe garden. Targeting the lonely, unhappy, or unusual; manipulating them to question their king and his goodness. And then, the evil servants would offer a solution to end the misery of their victims; a new life. They only needed to sacrifice one thing.
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