Win a Kindle Fire! Go Places Giveaway

Last month, I went to Egypt. This month, I’ve got a trip booked to Sudan.

Not in real life. In books.

I confess. My husband James and I very much wanted to travel extensively in real life this year. Our bucket list destination later this fall was going to be Paris. We planned to check off some of the typical places like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe as well as Monet’s gardens and maybe Versaille. But we also wanted to explore some lesser-known but no-less-breathtaking places like Mont Saint-Michel.

Since currently all Americans are banned from traveling to Europe and new Covid19 cases are soaring, it’s looking less and less likely that we’ll get to make this trip this year. But that’s okay. We’re currently brainstorming possible places we can visit closer to home, which have already included Beech Mountain, the setting for my next novel.

Here’s the good news: Whether we can’t travel because of Covid19 or our budget, we can go anywhere we want through reading. And that’s why I feel this giveaway is so important. Because even if we can’t go there right now, we can still live vicariously through words.

Reading as an adventure

Reading is a life-long adventure that takes you new places and teaches you new things. And the best part is: You choose the destinations and the curriculum.

Reading is a life-long adventure that takes you new places and teaches you new things. And the best part is: You choose the destinations and the curriculum. @khogrefeparnell

Although I enjoy reading nonfiction in several genres, my favorite reading hands-down is fiction. Some people think fiction is a waste of time, because isn’t it all “made up”? Yes and no. Sometimes, settings are fantastic, but they can also be realistic. Although characters are imaginary, they’re often grounded in real life experiences and struggles. In other words, fiction presents real life and reveals truth about people. I’ve learned incredibly valuable life lessons from characters who never actually lived and breathed.

I mentioned “traveling” to Egypt and Sudan earlier. Here’s a sneak preview of my latest read and my upcoming one. I’d encourage you to connect with me on Goodreads where I share about all my latest travels … in fiction.

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

My takeaway: Our lives don’t always play out the way we imagined, and yet, if we trust God in spite of our disappointments, He will make way for His best (even if it wasn’t our first choice).

Long Walk Home by DiAnn Mills

I can’t wait to start this one! Here’s the first part of the excerpt from Amazon: As an Arab Christian pilot for a relief organization, Paul Farid feels called to bring supplies to his war-torn countrymen in southern Sudan. But with constant attacks from Khartoum’s Islamic government, the villagers have plenty of reasons to distrust Paul, and he wonders if the risks he’s taking are really worth his mission.

A giveaway for you

This month is back-to-school for many, and it certainly doesn’t look anything like school seasons of the past. If you’re a student, yes, you will still have assigned readings, but those shouldn’t be your only readings.

This fact goes for adults as well as teens. I’ve known adults who hated reading because they associated it too strongly with education (or work), but when they discovered the freedom of choosing what they read, everything changed.

Maybe this Kindle Fire will do that for you. Or maybe it will become a gift for someone. Or maybe it will become your car companion. Hello! The Fire’s Immersion Reading feature is better than sliced bread.

How do you enter?

It’s super easy. Click here or the image below. You can enter one way or more than one way for multiple entries.

A few considerations:

  1. You must be over 13 years of age to enter.
  2. You must have a US address. (Sorry to my international friends!)
  3. I’ll pick the winner using my app’s random generator and will notify the winner via email. (The winner’s name may also be posted on this site and/or social media for marketing purposes.)
  4. While this contest may be shared on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with these entities.

The giveaway runs now through August 31, and I’ll announce the winner the first week of September.

What would you do with a Kindle Fire? Where is your next reading destination? Share in the comments!

~ Kristen

Win a Kindle Fire! Go Places Giveaway by @khogrefeparnell

Author Chat with Hope Bolinger on her Modern-Day Daniel Series

You all are in for a treat today! Hope Bolinger is a literary agent and multi-published YA novelist who has accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. She’s an inspiration for young writers (and “young at heart” writers too), and today, she shares about her latest release in her modern-day Daniel series.

Q: What prompted you to write a contemporary fiction series on Daniel?

It all started in a college class. We were going over the Old Testament in a semester, and during the unit on Daniel, the teacher said, “Daniel and his friends would’ve been 14 or 15 when they were taken into the Babylonian captivity.” That always struck me. I’d thought of them as being 20 or 30. But these teens are standing strong in their cultural identity and are thriving. I wanted to see what that looked like now.

Q: Danny and his friends deal with serious drama and trouble from the schools they attend. Did any of your own experiences shape some of their situations?

Legally, I’m not sure how much I can spill on this, but in short, yes. One of the schools I attended, which shall remain nameless, contributed a great deal of content in the book. It’s so funny because when I talked with high schoolers on the book, they asked, “Legally, how is this possible?” And I said, “Actually, a great deal of what goes down happened on some level in my own experience.” All three books in the trilogy have a kernel of truth in what I experienced at said school.

Q: Who is your favorite character in this series and why?

Oh, Hannah. She’s basically Tumblr and Hot Topic meets Christianity. She never minces words and is everything I wish I could be if I didn’t have a filter.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?

I hope they walk away with some form of a discussion. This series tackles relevant topics from cyberbullying to school shootings to mental health. I know I don’t go easy on readers in this series, but teens deal with this stuff every day. If we don’t talk about the problem, the problems will never get fixed.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring young writers?

So many things I could put in this answer! The most obvious is, obviously, don’t give up. You’ll be surprised just how many steps it takes from writing that first draft to getting it in front of readers.

And second, learn everything you can about publishing. I started querying at 17 years old, only having written books for a year, and I did NOT know what I was getting myself into. It takes a lot of time, a lot of practice, and a lot of learning.

Q: In addition to Den, releasing this week, you have another book scheduled to release next year. What can you tell us about it?

Yes, ma’am! So I have a superhero chat-fiction “Dear Hero” releasing with INtense Publications this September 2020. It follows the story of a Hero and Villain as they meet on a Nemesis-pairing app. Basically Tinder for heroes and villains. They fight, but they don’t expect to fall in love.

The sequel for that is projected to come out in April of 2021, and if the publisher gives the green light, the final book in the Blaze trilogy should release in August of 2021.

Meet Hope Bolinger, a multi-published novelist and literary agent whose Modern-Day Daniel series challenges young adults to confront the lions in their own lives.

About the Author

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent and multi-published YA novelist (Blaze, Den, and Dear Hero). When she isn’t busy racking up 60+ bylines, she loves to connect with readers at hopebolinger.com

About DEN: If You Don’t Want to Die, Don’t Sleep with Lions

Danny Belte barely survived his sophomore year at King’s Academy, having to deal with horrible initiation practices, stomach-churning cafeteria food, and the constant threat of arson.

His junior year doesn’t start off much better. Facing a series of mysterious suicide attempts that begin on day one–and a disturbing pattern that appears to connect them–Danny has a feeling something far more sinister is at play. He tries to narrow down a list of suspects as those closest to him disappear, one by one.

Can he protect his friends from a possible murderer on the loose? Or will he find himself trapped in a fate worse than a lions’ den?


Stay Connected

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Author Chat with Bryan Davis on his New Christian Science Fiction Series

I met Bryan Davis at a writer’s conference several years ago and enjoyed getting to know him and his daughter Amanda (also an author). His books are favorites among the students I teach, and I’m honored to have him be my guest on the blog. In our author chat feature today, he shares about a brand new Christian science fiction series, with the first book releasing today.

Q: What prompted you to write this new series, or what was your inspiration?

This story began as a dream about a dystopian society with a tyrannical regime and a rebel faction trying to bring it down. In the dream, two rebels posed as fake doctors to deliver a toxic vaccine to regime troops, and the novel sprouted from that seed.

Q: What are some science fiction elements in the story that help drive or enhance the storyline (if you can share without giving away spoilers)?

The story has hovercraft drones, a scanner that can see a soul in the brain, a portal in the sky that has been breached by an alien race, weapons that shoot plasma spheres, and a missile designed to destroy a cross-dimensional conduit.

Q: Fiction often mirrors reality, even if the setting, time period, and characters are other-worldly. What aspects of the story might readers find paralleling their own experience?

In this case, the parallels are all too real. The story includes the threat of a contagion that will kill millions and a requirement to take a vaccine that is touted to be helpful but might be hazardous. I wrote the story long before the COVID-19 situation, and the current-events elements came to pass after I completed it.

Q: What message do you hope readers will take away from this story?

I try not to reveal specific story themes that I intended, because I want readers to glean for themselves, but in all of my stories, including this one, I hope to promote faith, courage, and self-sacrifice in my readers.

Q: You’re a household name for fans of young adult Christian fantasy. How is this new series different from some of your other books, and/or how is it similar?

It’s different in the target age—for older teens and adults instead of for middle-graders and younger teens. It is more science fiction than fantasy, though there are some fantastical elements. It is similar in that I continue to feature characters who display sacrificial heroism and other virtues, and the Christian world view never wavers.

Q: How have you seen God use your writing journey in unexpected ways?

In too many ways to describe here. For myself, I have seen God provide in miraculous ways during the lean years, which has helped me more fully understand His sufficiency as I practice contentment. For readers, I hear from them nearly every day that my books have helped them in their faith as well as their physical lives. For example, more than 20 readers have told me that my books kept them from committing suicide. Some have given my stories credit for helping them with drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and self harm. The feedback has been a huge blessing and an overwhelming one.

Q: I know you’ve taught teen track courses at writer’s conferences. What do you enjoy most about talking to teen writers, and what is the best advice you would give them as they work on their own stories?

Teen writers often have great story ideas, and their energy and passion are invigorating and inspiring. Most are ready to listen and learn, and they are looking to make a positive influence.

I encourage teen writers to learn the craft and to exercise patience. It can take years for a new writer to a create professional-level novel. Some, when they are unable to acquire a traditional publisher, jump to self-publishing even though their stories might not be ready to publish. I am not opposed to self-publishing, but I urge young writers to be ready for that step before leaping in.

Q: When can we expect to see the next book in the series?

I don’t have an exact date, and I don’t have a title yet, but it will probably come out early in the spring of 2021.

Enjoy this interview with best-selling author Bryan Davis who talks about his new Christian science fiction series. @khogrefeparnell

About the Author

Bryan Davis is the author of several fantasy/science fiction series for youth and adults, including the best-selling Dragons in our Midst series. He and his wife, Susie, have seven adult children, and they work together as an author/editor team.

About Heaven Came Down

In the chaotic aftermath of apocalyptic war, the strange lights in the sky heralding the coming of unearthly beings seemed like an answer to prayer. When the heavenly visitors entered selected people and transformed them into angels who demanded obedience in exchange for the restoration of order, the majority accepted their new rulers.

But Ben Garrison and his siblings, Jack and Trudy, have seen a dark side to these so-called angels. They join a rebel faction with one goal: destroy the invaders and free the world from their tyranny.

When the rebels catch wind of an angel plot to invade the resistance region and spread a deadly contagion, the Garrisons embark on a crucial mission to swap the angel troops’ vaccine with a fake injection, stealing the real vaccine to save the rebels. The catch: Ben and Trudy, in disguise as doctors, must volunteer to become implanted by angels and fake their implantation.

The rebels’ plan, however, is soon exposed, jeopardizing the mission and their lives. Their only hope for rescue lies in an odd bounty hunter, a young angel priestess, and a mysterious spy embedded among the angels—a woman whose identity the rebels have yet to discover.

Book News! I Signed with The Blythe Daniel Agency

Sometimes, I wondered if this day would come. The search for the right literary agent has been quite the journey.

But the wait was worthwhile. I’m so honored to share that I signed with the Blythe Daniel Agency and Literary Agent Stephanie Alton, who will be representing me on a new Christian Romantic Suspense project I cannot wait for you to read one day!

About My New Project

The setting of this story is near to my life (and heart) as it takes my heroine from her ordinary world in Tampa to the snow-covered slopes of Beech Mountain. Both places are special to me, because I’m a Florida girl by birth, and my husband James proposed to me near Beech Mountain. You’ll get to experience so much of what I love about these settings in this novel.

Here’s a sneak preview of the premise:

Kaley just wants a carefree ski trip with her church singles’ group, but trouble follows her to Beech Mountain. When her last client of the day is murdered hours after she leaves for vacation, she becomes the target of an underworld celebrity who will stop at nothing to keep her secrets buried. The ally Kaley needs to survive is none other than her ex-boyfriend who won’t give up on her, even if she gave up on him.

You can be praying with me as my agent works to place this project with the right publisher.

Introducing My New Agent

Speaking of my agent, I’m excited for you to meet her! But first, some backstory:

It’s so neat how God works in unexpected ways. I met Blythe Daniel, the owner of the Blythe Daniel Agency, several years ago at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. I appreciated so much her professional expertise and also her gracious ability to connect with people on a personal level. Never in my dreams did I imagine that one day, I’d get to be part of her author community.

She connected me with her Blog About Blogger Network, organized by her colleague Stephanie Alton. For a few years, you’ve enjoyed the giveaways made possible through this network right here on the blog.

In March of this year, Faith Pitch on Twitter did a special #FaithOverFear contest where writers could pitch an in-progress project, and the participating editors and agents would each award one person a consultation. Although I figured it was a long shot, I pitched my current WIP (work in progress), and to my delight, won a consultation with Stephanie Alton, also an agent with the Blythe Daniel Agency.

Stephanie has been so helpful in answering my questions and a delight to communicate with. Long story short, I just signed an agreement for her to represent me on my new project.

What’s Next

Because we only see news (like this) and new book release announcements on social media, it often appears that just like that, the book is published.

But that’s not how the publishing industry works. In reality, it’s a slow process that often takes years.

All that to say, it could be over a year or even two before you have this novel in your hands. But in the meantime, I’ll be sharing the journey right here with you, along with other book news, the author chat features I hope you’ve been enjoying, giveaway opportunities, and as always, faith in the everyday adventures of life.

Thanks so much for being my friends and celebrating with me today!

~ Kristen

Book News! I’m proud to partner with the Blythe Daniel Agency. @kjhogrefe