My Interview on the Wealthy Wednesday Radio Show!

Everything you wanted to know about me but were afraid to ask. I hope you’ll take the time to listen to my interview on the Wealthy Wednesday Show and leave your comments and questions. I love interacting with you! Thank you to Luci McMonagle for inviting me to be on her show. I had a blast. Enjoy! Kindly tweet:  Interview with Karla Akins with tips on starting your writing...

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Emissary by Thomas Locke — 4 out of 5 stars

I know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover, but really, what’s not to like about this gorgeous work of art? It’s the perfect marquee for this new fantasy series by Thomas Locke. It depicts the flavor and mood of this story perfectly. I don’t read fantasy as a rule, but because it’s such a popular genre for the younger set, including Millennials, I wanted to read it as a way get to know why they love this type of story. Walk into any bookstore these days and the shelves overflow with novels featuring wizardry and witchcraft. These books appeal to those who cut their teeth on Harry Potter and fantasy role-playing and video games.  They crave more stories that take them into the land of fairy tales and magic. I am one of the few who hasn’t read Harry Potter due to my own personal convictions. And I will admit being wary of this book. However, I do believe Locke has tapped into a market that desires a less dark fantasy experience. There is no overt Christian message, but there is definitely a main character to admire and a quest to be fought for. The thing to remember when reading fiction, Dear Reader, is that it is Fantasy. Locke himself stated on his blog that he wants to take his readers on a story journey similar to what he loved reading while growing up: “During our formative years – up until around age 30 – we are reinforcing our world view when we read for entertainment. But much of the fantasy that’s being published today doesn’t offer that sense of courage and inspiration that used to be prevalent in fantasy and science fiction novels. Of course, not all of the “classic” authors wrote uplifting work. Ray Bradbury is one example. But even Bradbury’s writing gave me a sense of mind-bending escape and the opportunity to dream and envision more than what was available in world around me. The books I loved most offered hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for growing into someone who could have these sorts of adventures. I want to infuse that hopefulness into my characters, and not give in to the temptation of creating characters who are only bitter and cynical. In Emissary, key themes include courage in the face of fear, travel to unknown destinations, and new personal avenues of growth and development. I’ve tried to bring each of these into a story structure that’s applicable to today’s culture.” I was quite surprised how quickly I was drawn into the story. Usually I read historical or political suspense, but I found myself smiling and turning page after page, eager to...

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Live Blogging Realm Makers Conference: Keynote Speaker Tosca Lee

What an amazing day I’ve had at Realm Maker’s conference today! This morning’s Keynote Speaker was best-selling author, Tosca Lee. If you’ve never read any of her books, I highly recommend you do. Her style and voice are unique and powerful. As I wrote before, she has a voice akin to liquid velvet. I can’t get enough of her. Did you know that she cut her eyeteeth in the writing realm with online gaming? Who’d have thunk it? But it makes sense to me now. She spent hours and hours creating a character and a world playing a role playing game. In fact, the character she developed and eventually “killed” has a fandom! People to this day write poems and tributes to this character. Now, I’m not into role playing games. I’ve never “got” that lifestyle. In fact, I’ve protected myself from that sort of fantasy life because I didn’t understand it, feared it, and was concerned that with my personality I’d become addicted to it. But as it turns out, lovely Tosca was once the Overlord of a gaming community that still holds tournaments in her character’s honor. Talk about creating a powerful character! This character was so real to those playing this game that they mourned her and continue to this day to honor her. Wow. Can I create characters like that? Can you? Following Tosca’s keynote address, I attended a workshop entitled “Touching Evil: Reflections on Writing Villains and their Villainy.” The take-away for me was when he said that the villain is the measuring stick for the hero. Excellent stuff! This afternoon Steve Laube spoke about the ins and outs of being represented by an agent. Jeff Gerke presented a workshop on “The So-Called Rules of So-Called Fiction and what to So-Called do with Them.” As always Jeff was engaging and funny. Lisa Walker England taught on Steampunk, which is the reason I’m here as I have several steampunk novels running through my head. Doesn’t she look great in her costume? (She’s pictured below with Ben Wolf.)  The last presenter before the evening awards banquet was Kat Heckenbach who spoke on writing YA. The banquet tonight was attended by various unique and special guests:       The Clive Staples Award for the best in Christian Speculative Fiction this past year went to Patrick W. Carr for A Cast of Stones! The Parable Award for best-designed cover on a speculative fiction book directed to the Christian or family-friendly market went to Numb by John W. Otte. The food was delicious and my brain is just as full as my stomach. I’ve learned a lot today and can hardly wait until tomorrow morning to start all...

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Live blogging from Realm Makers Conference with BREAKING NEWS!

I’m in Radnor, PA for the Realm Makers Conference! I am a slightly surprised to find myself here but there’s a nagging in my heart to learn how to write compelling YA, specifically in the Steampunk vein. I’m not really sure what to expect, but so far things are good. On my drive to Pennsylvania there was a rainbow! That’s a good sign, right? It took me two days to drive here from Indiana. Today before I checked into the conference I stopped at a mall in King of Prussia, PA, and had lunch at Ruby’s Diner. The clam chowder was so scrumptious I was tempted to order another cup! I sat in the diner and worked on my work in progress. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I can write pretty well in a diner environment. I need to try it again. Although, there aren’t any diners in my neck of the woods. Certainly not ones that have such great decor. I was wishing my guys were with me to enjoy such pretty bikes! The conference is on Villanova University’s campus. The college has beautiful old stone buildings and we’re staying in dorms. The dorm I’m in is actually an apartment. I have the entire thing to myself but there’s enough room for 4 people.                          Tonight as I type this I’m at the Splickety Magazine Critique Party. On the panel critiquing the first few pages of novels submitted and chosen before the conference are Tosca Lee, Jeff Gerke, Steve Laube and Avily Jerome. I’m so excited to hear Tosca Lee speak in the morning! I love her books. She has the sort of writing voice I love. Like liquid velvet. I’ll post again tomorrow (hopefully I’ll have some time to sneak in here to share with you) and let you know all I’m learning. Tonight the panel seems to be in unison regarding that first hook in the first few pages of a book. Lovely writing might be beautiful, but will it keep a reader’s attention? If you want to be published, you need to learn to write what sells. But if you want to write for your own pleasure, then write what you want! Tonight Steve Laube announced the new name of his publishing company (formerly Marcher Lord Press): Enclave Publishing! You heard it here first! Steve Laube making the announcement: Tons of excitement tonight! I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Click to tweet: Live blogging from Realm Makers Conference! Click to tweet: Steve Laube announces Marcher Lord Press now Enclave...

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Introducing Steampunk author Michael Vetter and a giveaway!

I am very pleased to introduce you to Steampunk/Sci-fi author, Michael Vetter. I became intrigued with Michael’s work after meeting him on a Steampunk forum. I’m fascinated with this genre and have been researching it for a book I’m formulating for the YA market. I’m also leaving next Tuesday to attend the Realm Makers conference in Pennsylvania! I’m looking forward to rubbing shoulders with fantasy genre authors as I have much to learn. I have a burden to write YA books that point young people to Christ. It’s much needed. Which is what drew me to Michael’s work. Michael very graciously agreed to be interviewed for my blog. I think you’ll find him and his work fascinating! (By the way, dear reader, if you leave a comment or question and tweet about this post (I’ve provided a handy dandy link below as well) you’ll be entered to win a free digital (.pdf) copy of one of his books — your choice!  If you use any of the other buttons, you’ll be entered each time you promote this post on social media. What a deal!) Thanks so much, Michael, for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself: My father worked for Pan America Airways so I grew up around airplanes and airports in Latin America all my life.  When I went to college in the U.S. I studied engineering, met my wife, Mary, and joined the Air Force. While stationed in Florida, we heard the Gospel for the first time and, after months of questions and resistance, accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. We grew spiritually through the years, served in many capacities at Salem Bible Church (www.salembible.org) while I worked in the defense industry, and recently retired. My wife and I have a grown son, two grandsons, and are involved in several ministries. Besides teaching adult Bible Sunday School and writing novels, I edit a newsletter for Grace Dental and Medical Missions (www.gdmmissions.org) and am a translator on medical missions trips to Spanish-speaking countries. We live in Salem,  NH, where the one month of brilliant fall foliage makes up for long winters of snow and cold. We enjoy long road and rail trips together and kayaking in the summer. What a fascinating journey to this point in your life you’ve had! I long to take a rail trip sometime, too. How can we find you online? Web page:  http://www.michaelvetter.net Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ChristianAdventuresBibleThemes?ref=hl Where do you write? (What’s your office like?) My best creative writing is done where I’m free from distractions so that means not in my cluttered office! My home office is where I have access to my reference books for research and Bible studies. Libraries...

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Erica’s Edition: Vikings!

Today’s blog post is brought to you by my hard-working intern, Erica Graphman! Take it away, Erica! I’ve always been a huge fan of history—I actually considered majoring in it until my dad pointed out that I wouldn’t be able to make a good career out of it unless I became a teacher (not really my cup of tea). I love reading about history and especially love learning about different myths that famous cultures believed in. So, in my excitement for the return of The History Channel’s Vikings, I did a little research on the beliefs of the famous group. (I have a feeling that this season is going to involve a lot of mythology!) The Norse and other Germanic tribes who followed the same beliefs in multiple gods called their practicing a tradition. They believed Odin, Thor, Freya, and Loki were the high gods, known as Aesir. Odin, Thor, and Frigg each have a day of the week named after them (I learned about this in my Structure of the English Language class) Woden’s day, Thor’s day, and Freya’s day (scholars debate whether Frigg and Freya are the same goddess, most think it’s likely because they share the same characteristics). These names eventually evolved to become Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Odin is the king of Asgard and he sacrificed his eye to gain knowledge. Thor is his son and the god of the sky. He can control wind, lightning, and thunder. As noted before, Frigg is Odin’s wife, and she is the goddess of love and the heavens. Women often prayed to her during childbirth. Another common Norse god is Loki, the god of mischief, who is so handsomely represented by Tom Hiddleston in Marvel’s Thor. The Vikings believed in four different realms. The gods dwell in the realm of Asgard while humans remain in Midgard. There are two places Viking warriors can go when they die. If it is a worthy death, aka bravely in battle, they pass on to Valhalla where they feast while waiting for the end of time. If they do not die a heroic death, they must remain in Hel, which the Vikings considered the ninth world. After reading all this crazy information about the Viking gods, I must say, I’m super excited to see this season of Vikings, especially to see which warriors take their places in Valhalla and which fall to Hel. (I’m rooting for strong, female warrior Lagertha to kick butt!) Tweet this: Who’s your favorite...

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