Saturday, November 30, 2013

Getting Ready for the Read-Along!

The Veiled Rose read-along starts tomorrow! I am very excited to dive into exploring this book with you. Whether you're a new reader or a die-hard Goldstone Wood Imp, I hope you will find the upcoming articles interesting, insightful, and just plain fun.

Just like last year, there will be giveaways at the end of each week and a grand finale giveaway on the final day. Here are some details about those:

Giveaway Prizes

Because this is the Veiled Rose read-along, we will be doing Veiled Rose prizes. Every week of the giveaway, on Sunday evening, I’ll be selecting a name to receive a signed copy of Veiled Rose.

On the final day of read-along, I’ll be hosting a Facebook Party in the evening. Everyone who attends will have an opportunity to win a copy of Veiled Rose and of Goddess Tithe, not to mention a nifty Tales of Goldstone Wood mug.

Giveaway Rules

To get your name entered in the weekly giveaways, you can do a variety of things:

1. Answer questions. There will be anywhere between 2-5 questions to go along with each chapter. For each question you answer, you will get your name entered into the giveaway. So, if you only answer 1 question all week, your name will be entered once. If you answer 3 questions a day every day of the week, you will get your named entered 21 times! So you’ll have that much more of a chance of being a winner.

2. Ask questions. For every question you ask me, you will have your name entered 1 time.

3. Submit a fan art. This has to be fan art inspired by one of the chapters covered during the week. For each piece of fan art (new fan art only, please) you will have your name entered 10 times.

4. Share about the read-along. If you post the read-along banner and a link to your blog, facebook, or twitter, let me know and send me a link to where I can see it. Your name will be entered in the giveaway 2 times for each instance. This can be done every day if you like (though you might not want to overwhelm your followers!).

So that's all you need to know! Grab your copy of Veiled Rose and get ready for fun times.

#32 Author Scavenger Hunt Stop #18 – Shannon Dittemore Interview

Welcome, scavenger hunters! If you've been following since Stop #1, you are more than halfway through the hunt now. Congratulations. But there are bunches of wonderful authors to meet still, and I am here to introduce you to a particularly exciting one.

But first, a little bit of a recap for all of you, especially those of you who might be just jumping on board. To participate in the #31 Author Scavenger Hunt and get your name entered for a chance to win an iPad mini, you need to collect all of the clues. Each blogger/author will have posted this clue--which is a word or phrase, clearly marked--on his or her blog. You need to collect all of the clues from all 30-plus stops, put them together in order to form the complete phrase. Then go to the final location, where you will be given a place to enter the phrase (and your contact info).

So be certain to keep following the clues, dear readers!

But first, I want to introduce you to

Shannon Dittemore

Shannon is the author of the Angel Eyes Trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California.
ANGEL EYES was Shannon’s debut novel and the launch of a young adult supernatural trilogy. It was published in the summer of 2012 by Thomas Nelson. The sequel BROKEN WINGS hit shelves in February, 2013 and the final novel in the trilogy, DARK HALO just released in August!
You can find out more about Shannon on her website: or follow her facebook page!
Shannon is here today for an interview, and I hope you will all enjoy getting to know her and her writing a little better. Enjoy!


Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, Shannon! First off, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? 

Shannon: Thank you so much for having me, Anne Elisabeth! It’s such an honor. A little about me, huh? The first two words that come to mind are wife and mother. Most days, those two roles fill my hours. I have a five year old and a nine year old and a husband who’s fabulous with both of them. As a family, we’re very involved in church overseeing the youth and young adult ministries. My husband is also a coffee roaster, so to that question, I’d absolutely have to say coffee, but I’d never turn down a lovely cuppa. Oh, and I’m a die-hard 49ers fan. Forgive me, I just felt that needed to be said.

 What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller?

Shannon: I love that you used the word storyteller. That’s exactly what I’d say I’ve always been. For years, I thought I’d be on the stage. I wanted to act. But after getting married and starting a family, I found I didn’t want to give up more evenings with my husband and children than I had to, so after a frustrating season I found myself asking God, “How can I tell stories from home?”
Yeah, I know. And that’s when it hit me. I really could tell stories from home. That night, I paced the house with a fussy three month old, singing and praying, and by the time morning had rolled around, I’d come up with the bare bones of Angel Eyes.
Tell us a little about your Angel Eyes trilogy. How did the idea for these three books come to you?
Shannon: To begin with, I simply wanted to write the kind of book I liked reading. I’d been working with teenagers a ton and reading what they were reading, so the YA aspect was natural. Writing about angels and demons was very organic for me as well. As a teenager, I traveled with our church’s performing arts team. Nearly every number featured Satan or the angels locked in combat. The invisible world has always been on the backdrop of my storytelling experience, and that had a gloriously unexpected result. So much of this trilogy is intimately me. My fears, my doubts, my insecurities. My victories even. I wanted to write about teenagers who ball their fists up and punch fear in the face. I hope that’s what I’ve done.
Now I’d love to hear about the newest novel, Dark Halo. How long did you work on this story? Was it harder or easier to write than the first two books in the series?
Shannon: Those months looked a little like this: I was editing Broken Wings, promoting Angel Eyes, and writing Dark Halo. It’s a bit of a blur, but I believe I wrote Dark Halo over the course of six months. By the time I reached this last book, so many of the pieces were in place. I just needed to tie them all together. The concept of the dark halo was really the key to it—to the trilogy as a whole, I think—and the minute I had that solidified in my mind, the writing flowed. But six months is fast. Very fast and I did feel the pressure to finish strong.
Can you pick a favorite character from this story?
Shannon: I’m going to default to my leading lady, Brielle, on this one. She was with me from the very beginning and I was most invested in her growth throughout the trilogy. That said, in Dark Halo, her sidekick, Kaylee, steals the show in so many ways. She’s quirky and spastic, loyal and endearing. Writing her was absolutely the most fun.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Shannon: Worship. There are a zillion things I could say here, of course, but it boils down to my time with God. When I’m stuck, when I’m upside down with characters who refuse to obey, it is always my time with the Lord that brings new life to my writing.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Shannon: Well! If we’re talking the technical side of things, my absolute favorite part is line edits. People think I’m crazy, but THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS. In this very last round, when I’m tightening and refining. And truth be told, I have the very best line editor out there, LB Norton. She makes this part fun. My least favorite part is probably wrapping up a first draft. At this point, I’m ready to move on to edits, so this part makes me antsy.
All right, everyone hates this question, but . . . if you had to pick, who would be your favorite author?
Shannon: I DO hate this question. It’s an impossible one to answer. So, I’ll cheat. I’ll give you a few. One of the authors who made a huge difference in how I perceived Christian fiction was Ted Dekker. So, he gets a nod. Another author, an entirely different kind of author, but one I’ll drop everything for, is Tasha Alexander. She writes the Lady Emily mysteries and I’m an addict of the worst kind. There are several YA authors I am in awe of as well. Maggie Stiefvater’s prose is inspiring and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Game trilogy came along at a very important time for me, so I’d throw those two in there as well.
So what is next on your writerly horizons? Can we look forward to more supernatural/angel stories? Or perhaps something completely new?
Shannon: Something new, I think. Right now, I’m working on a detective story with a speculative twist. It’s something I’m really loving. Stretching my own wings a bit and getting outside my comfort zone has been both healthy and intoxicating.
What are you actively writing right now?
Shannon: I have two works in process right now. One is the detective story I mentioned and the other involves a mysterious staircase, a screwed up teenager, and trip back in time to the day of Christ’s crucifixion.
Would you share a short snippet from Dark Halo?
Shannon: Absolutely. Here, Brielle faces the Prince of Darkness himself for the very first time. Happy reading!

Excerpt from

Dark Halo

“Gabrielle,” he says, stepping toward me. “Come. Sit with me.”
His platform is three or four feet from mine. He crouches and then throws his feet over the edge, where they dangle a foot or two off the desert floor. He waits there, looking up at me, a twisted Romeo and Juliet kind of moment. I force myself to step back. It’s a small victory, considering how tired I am, how much I could use the simplicity of rest. But every inch I give him is a battle lost, I think. I know I can’t barter with the devil.
“I said sit.” His voice never rises, his face never reddens, but I am shoved, violently shoved to the ground. I land hard on my backside, my back cracking and my left leg going numb. “Isn’t that better? Sitting. Relaxing. I’d just like to talk for a minute, Elle.”
“Don’t call me that,” I say, repulsed—truly repulsed for the first time.
“Your friends call you that, don’t they?” he says with a shrug. “In fact, everyone calls you that.”
I rub at my leg. “You’re not everyone. You’re certainly not my friend.”
He leans forward, both of his hands curling around the lip of the salt platform. “Then what am I?”
I stare at the mirrors in his eyes. I need to see myself say the words. “You’re my enemy. The enemy of my soul.”
His smile turns patronizing. “Do you even know what that means?”
“It means you want death for my soul, and I want life. That makes you my enemy.”
“Your soul is eternal, gifted one. There’s nothing you or I can do about that.”
For a minute his words baffle me. “Don’t play games with me. I’ve told you what I want: I want to go home. Now it’s your turn. What do you want?”
Wow! Thank you, Shannon, for an exciting excerpt and a wonderful interview!
So, what do you think, scavenger hunters? Are you eager to pick up Shannon's thrilling trilogy and dive into a supernatural adventure? Well, just keep on gathering your clues, and you might find yourself a lucky winner!
Speaking of clues . . .
Here is your clue for this stop. Are you ready for it? Your clue is:
To continue your hunt, jump on over to Shannon Dittemore's blog and find out who she is hosting today. Just click this link!
But before you go . . .
I am also offering a little giveaway of my own.


Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves--Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta's tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice...and for the one person who can wield it.
 If you'd like a chance to win an autographed copy of  Dragonwitch, be certain to enter your name in this giveaway.
Happy scavenger hunting, all of you!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Dear imps, you probably all have at least an inkling how excited I am about this cover reveal! This book is my mother's first new novel in seven years, and it is by far my favorite thing she's written. It is an incredible story, and I cannot begin to say how excited I am that she has elected to publish it via Rooglewood Press. And now I get to share the beautiful new cover with you!

But first of all, I must share a little bit about my mother herself.

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader's Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

And now, without further ado . . . the cover!

Paris, France
Colette DeMer and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.

But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.

Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?

Coming April 25, 2014

What do you think? I am so pleased by how this cover turned out. The model looks just like the Colette I picture in my mind when I read the story, with a strength of character in her face, as well as a dash of good humor. I love the color scheme and the fonts, and the little swirls add just a touch of whimsy (and the wrap-around spine and back cover are equally pretty . . . though you'll have to wait until spring to see them!).

Don't let the frilly cover fool you, however . . . this is an intense story that kept me glued to the page and breathless when I read it! But it starts out gently enough, with Colette introducing both herself and her story in her own, distinct manner. Would you like a glimpse of the opening?

Until That Distant Day

Opening of Chapter 1

I was born believing that the world was unfair and that I was the person to make it right.
One of my earliest memories is of Papa setting me atop a nail keg in the forge; I could not have been older than two at the time.
“Colette, give Papa a kiss,” he said, tapping his cheek.
“Come and sit on my knee.”
My response to every order was the same, asked with genuine curiosity. I did not understand why his watching friends chuckled. Why should I press my lips to Papa’s sweaty, prickly cheek? Why should I hop down from the keg, where he had just placed me, and run to sit on his knee, a most uncomfortable perch? I felt justified in requesting a reason for each abrupt order, yet he never bothered to give me one.
Mama, when thus questioned, provided an answer in the form of a sharp swat. This I could respect as definitive authority, although the reasoning behind it remained dubious.
My little brother Pascoe was born believing that the world was his to command. As soon as he acquired his first vocabulary word, “No,” he and I joined ranks in defiance of established authority.
Many impediments cluttered the path of destiny in those early years: parents, thirteen other siblings, physical ailments, and educational difficulties. And as we grew into adulthood, more serious matters intervened, even parting us for a time. But I will speak more of that later. For now, let me assure you that, no matter the obstacles thrown in our way, our sibling bond seemed indissoluble; the love between us remained unaffected by any outside relationship.
Pascoe and I were young adults when revolutionaries in Paris threw aside the tyranny of centuries and established a new government based on the Rights of Man. From the seclusion of our little village in Normandy we rejoiced over each battle fought and won; and when our local physician, Doctor Hilliard, who had first mentored then employed Pascoe for several years, was elected as deputy to the National Assembly from our district, a whole new world opened at our feet.
My story truly begins on a certain day in the spring of 1792, in the little domain I had made for myself in the kitchen at the back of Doctor Hilliard’s Paris house. Perhaps it wasn’t truly my domain, for it did not belong to me. I was merely the doctor’s housekeeper and could lay no real claim. Nevertheless, the kitchen was more mine than anything had ever been, and I loved that small, dark room; especially during the hours when sunlight slanted through the bubbled-glass kitchen windows, making bright, swirling shapes on the whitewashed walls, or each evening when I arranged my latest culinary creation on a platter and left it in the warming oven for the doctor to discover whenever he arrived home. That kitchen was my home. Not the home I had grown up in, but the home I had always craved.
On that particular day, however, it did not feel the safe haven I had always believed it to be. Loud voices drifted down from the upper floor where the doctor and Pascoe were in conference, disturbing my calm. When I closed the connecting door to the dining room, the angry voices drifted in through the open kitchen windows. I couldn’t close the windows; I might smother of heat. Yet I needed to block out the sound, to make it stop.
So I slipped a filet of sole into a greased skillet and let it brown until golden on both sides. The hiss and sizzle did not quite cover the shouting, but it helped. Then I slid the fish onto a waiting plate lined with sautéed vegetables fresh from my kitchen garden; and I topped all with an herbed wine-and-butter sauce. A grind of fresh pepper finished off my creation.
But my hands were still trembling, and I felt as if something inside me might fall to pieces.
Pascoe often shouted. Shouting was part of his fiery nature, a normal event. He shouted when he gave speeches at section meetings. He shouted about overcooked meals or inferior wines. He shouted when his lace jabot refused to fall into perfect folds.
But never before had I heard Doctor Hilliard raise his voice in anger.
Doctor Hilliard was never angry. Doctor Hilliard never displayed emotion. At most, he might indicate approval by the glance of a benevolent eye or disapprobation by the merest lift of a brow. Yet there could be no mistaking the two furious voices overhead. I well knew Pascoe’s sharp tenor with its sarcastic edge; but now I also heard the doctor’s resonant voice crackling with fury.
I managed to slide the hot plate into the warmer alongside a crusty loaf of bread and closed the door, using a doubled towel to protect my shaking hands.
Behind me the connecting door was flung open, and Pascoe burst in as I spun to face him. “Gather your things; we are leaving,” he growled. His eyes blazed in his pale face, and the jut of his jaw allowed for no questions. He clapped his tall hat on his head as he passed through the room.
I donned my bonnet and sabots and picked up my parasol. “What has happened?” I asked just above a whisper.
“I’ll tell you once we are away from this house.” His lips snapped tight. His chest heaved with emotion, and he grasped a portfolio so tightly that his fingers looked white.
I could not recall the last time I had seen my brother in such a rage.


I hate to break off at such an interesting moment . . . but again, you'll have to wait until April to see how that confrontation continues!

In the meanwhile, you can check out the book page for Until That Distant Day, and keep checking it for fun updates between now and the release date. We also have this pretty blog button:
Do please share this on the sidebars of your blog, including the link so readers can easily find the book page and learn more about this exciting novel.

Big thanks to all of the bloggers who participated in this reveal!

Jessica Greyson at Safirewriter
Heather Manning at My Writing Desk
Jillian Haggard at Covers and Ink
Hannah Williams at The Writer’s Window
Melanie Valderrama at Mel’s Shelves
Annie Douglas Lima at Letters from Annie Douglas Lima
Rebekah at Backing Books
Jenny at The Penslayer
Clara at Darling Diaries
Lydia Mazzei at The Overweight Bookshelf
Stephanie Ricker at Quoth the Girl
Jennette Mbewe at
Miranda Uyeh at To Be a Person
Diane Estrella at That’s What I’m Here For
Brooke M at i blog 4 books
Julie Graves at My Favorite Pastime
Samantha Jo at West of Newbury Street
Grace M at Fictionally
Meagan at The Curried Nut
And especially Amber Stokes at Seasons of Humility, who helped organize bloggers for this feature!

To celebrate this exciting reveal, my mother is offering an enormous giveaway prize. She is going to give one lucky reader ten of her backlist novels! That's right, ten print novels and novellas, including her award-winning Faithful Traitor, the bestselling Highland Legacy collection, and her three part Longtree series. So be certain to enter your name in the giveaway. And tell a friend about Until That Distant Day!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 25, 2013

Interview Feature: Rachel Starr Thomson

Dear Imps, I am pleased to introduce you to a speculative fiction author who has published SO many exciting novels, short stories, and novellas (seriously, check out her bookstore!), that I know she'll keep you stocked with fun reading for a long time to come. But she has come here today to specifically talk about her brand new series, The Oneness Cycle. And she is offering a giveaway of book 1 in that series, so be certain you check out the end of this post! But first, let us welcome . . .

Rachel Starr Thomson

Rachel is a writer, indie publisher, and editor. She's the author of the Seventh World Trilogy and multiple other books published by Little Dozen Press.
Rachel is a homeschool graduate, a dweller in southern Canada, a lover of long walks, good books, and hot tea, and a counter-cultural revolutionary who thinks we'd all be much better off if we pitched our television sets out the nearest window.
You can find out more about Rachel and her books on her website:


Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, Rachel! Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? 

Rachel: Both tea and coffee. Until five years ago I was a diehard tea-only Canadian snob, but then I felt I should enter adulthood—I was twenty-five—so I bought a car and started drinking coffee. I think it worked . . .
In my personality I’m really really typical for a writer—introverted and intellectual and very definitely ADD, though in the calm, dreamy way that doesn’t deserve an H. I like to tell myself that I can’t remember little details (like where I put my keys, or how to put a shirt on rightside-out the first time) because my mind is too full of more important things, but that’s probably not true.
Being this sort of person, I’m not sure I have hobbies. I like to read, think, listen to music, drive, and nap, but not sure those qualify. I love to spend time with my close friends, learn new things, and see the world (especially Disney World, which I have seen four times and hope to see again soon. Maybe going to Disney is my hobby).
Oh, and I also codirect a performing arts company and teach and speak and sing, but I don’t consider any of those things hobbies because they fall under the nebulously defined “ministry” category. (Look us up at  
What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? What was your first published novel?
Rachel: I have been a writer since I was little, which I think, again, is typical. I wrote a series of self-illustrated books on scrap paper which I stapled together about a character called Jonathan Gorilla. I started writing more seriously in my teens and eventually (after moonlighting as a published nonfiction essay writer) started indie publishing my own work. The first title was actually nonfiction; it’s a little book called Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord’s Prayer. The first fiction title I put out was Worlds Unseen, which you can download free as an e-book. It’s the first installment in the Seventh World Trilogy. (Yes, I know, I wrote a trilogy … typical.)

Tell us a little about your series! What led you to start writing The Oneness Cycle? Can you give us a little summary of the series? Is it very different from your fantasy series, or do they share similarities?
Rachel: The Oneness Cycle is fantasy in its own right, but it’s very, very different from the Seventh World Trilogy and other fantasy books I’ve written. The setting is modern and American in style (more or less modern—as you can tell from the technology they don’t use, I’ve been setting it in the early ’90s). It’s about a “supernatural entity” called the Oneness—which essentially is a group of people spiritually connected to each other and pitted against the demonic realm in ongoing warfare to hold the universe together. (If you can’t tell, it’s a sort of reflection on the nature of the church.) The books center around a small Oneness cell in a fishing village on the west coast, as they are attacked by powerful forces that threaten their lives, try to break up their unity, and call their very nature into question.
Now tell us a little about Exile, Book 1 in The Oneness Cycle. How long have you been work on it? Did it present any unusual challenges?
Rachel: Exile is a very special book to me for one reason: it’s the first novel I wrote after 2+ years of severe writer’s block. It’s a relatively short novel, and I spent a couple of months on it. I had the idea for the opening scene (two young men pulling a young woman out of a bay, in a fishing net) and the Oneness itself, and I just ran with it. The book came together sentence by sentence, and at times was a fight to get out, but I’m proud of it and thrilled to say that it’s turned me into a writer again. (I’ve been working hard, and writing a lot, and at this point have two more Oneness books out, with a third coming this month—Hive, Attack, and Renegade.)
Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?
Rachel: That’s a hard one because I am really fond of all these characters (and there are a bunch of them). Reese, the central character, is definitely a favourite. At the start of the novel, she’s been cut off—exiled—from the Oneness, a fate worse than dying for her. She’s just about blind with grief, but even in that dark place, she quickly learns to love the village cell and goes to battle for them when they’re threatened. Reese’s journey is at the heart of the entire Oneness series—the book I’m writing right now, Renegade, is all about her—so she’s pretty special to me.

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Rachel: I’m very inspired by aspects of theology and history. I don’t write straight allegory (readers will notice that God as we know Him does not actually exist in the world of the Oneness—they have the Spirit, but no concept of the Father or Christ), but I like to take aspects of my faith and turn them around in my mind and explore them through fiction. The Seventh World Trilogy, for example, was sparked by two things: the history of the Reformation and a viewpoint on the fall that I’d been mulling on, that God in a sense exiled Himself from Eden and Adam and Eve’s presence, because His holiness would destroy them in their sinful state. The Oneness Cycle, as I mentioned, is largely inspired by the concept of the church, different individuals both alive and “dead” who are one body in heaven and earth, all drinking from one Spirit. The conflict the characters face has much to do with concepts of truth, calling, power, and sacrifice. So theology as I find it in the Bible is probably my biggest source of inspiration.
Apart from that, I find coffee, tea, sour candy, and music really helpful. And if I’m running creatively dry, I will occasionally binge-watch something I find interesting. (But that’s difficult, because I’m honestly bored by most TV and movies.)
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Rachel: The writing. And the writing.
If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
Rachel: Argh, that is the worst question in the history of author interviews because there are just SO many. And I like them for different reasons. I just … nope, I don’t think I can choose.
Here’s a random sampling of writers I’ve read in the past month, though: Dallas Willard, Lars Walker, Stephen Lawhead, Malcolm Gladwell, Shaine Claiborne, Jeff Kinney, and the guy who compiled my crossword puzzle book.
What are you actively writing right now?

Rachel: Renegade, Book 4 in The Oneness Cycle. On the run with a dangerous cult leader named Jacob, Reese must face the worst of her demons and break the cycle of bitterness before it destroys her.

Would you share a short snippet from Exile?

Rachel: Most certainly! Here you go—and thanks very much for having me on.

Excerpt from


Reese stood in the midst of the shattered glass, breathing hard and staring at the object in her hand. Behind her, first Tyler and then Chris tumbled into the side room.
“What is that?” Tyler blurted, pointing at the corpse on the floor, at the same time  that Chris demanded, “Why are you holding a sword?”
Why indeed? She’d not thought to hold one ever again.
“Didn’t think I . . . could,” she offered, aware that her trailing answer wouldn’t make sense to them. She nudged the thing on the floor with her toe and winced at the broken glass everywhere.
One more mess. The creature was only a renegade—thank God. But . . .
The sword disappeared, disintegrating into nothing, and she let her hand fall to her side. “I’m sorry about the mess.”
Tyler lurched forward and kicked at the body, turning it over. He blinked. “It’s a bat? But . . .”
Rain was blowing in through the broken window, spattering the piles of old books and quickly damping the carpet. Reese sprang into action, shuffling things aside and apologizing again. Night was falling, and it was dark. The wind through the window was cold.
Chris appeared at her side with a blue tarp, which he nailed over the windowsill with a few expert whacks of a hammer. With that little bit of a rain barrier in place, he stood back, regarded Reese with his arms folded over his chest, and said, “Who are you?”
She was still repositioning stacks of books, studiously avoiding looking at either of them. But she couldn’t just ignore the question. “My name is Reese,” she said.
“You have a last name?”
“No, we—I—we don’t use them,” she stammered. Why wouldn’t the words come out? His gaze was boring into her, and she dropped what she was doing and sat on the couch again, shoulders hunched, bone weary. Of course she needed a last name.
“Danby,” she let out in a whimper. “You can . . . Danby.”
She ventured a glance up. Chris was still staring at her, but although his gaze was stern, she could see now that it wasn’t angry. It was . . . protective, maybe.
The lump in her throat suddenly grew until all she wanted to do was curl up on the couch, cover herself with the flannel blanket, and give vent to all she felt until she had exhausted every tear and more, until every muscle ached and her skin burned with the emptiness inside.
His anger would have been hard to take. But protectiveness was a memory, too fresh and far, far too potent.
“A bat couldn’t have broken that window—and I could have sworn it was something else, something way bigger when I walked in here. So what was that?”
Tyler wasn’t paying attention to the exchange, and his question, to her relief, deflected the force of her grief. She considered lying, but she was too tired for that. She leaned back against the scratchy plaid upholstery.
“A renegade,” she said. “Just one . . . so you don’t need to worry that others will come.”
Outside, headlight beams came around a curve in the road just below the cottage, disappearing behind the tarp after only a brief flash.
“That’ll be Mum,” Chris said. He frowned. “I think I hung up on her.”
“A renegade?” Tyler pressed.
“Do you believe in demons?” Reese asked.
Chris shook his head. His forehead was creased with worry. “I’ll put tea on,” he said. “Wait this conversation. Until Mum’s in here.”
Tyler looked apologetically at Reese. “Diane is good for this kind of thing.”
Reese felt the slightest glimmer of humour. “For discerning crazy?”
Tyler gave her a wry smile. “For helping us know what to do.” He stood, leaving the bat he had been examining on the floor. “I don’t think it’s going to get any warmer and drier in here tonight. We’d better go to the living room.”
He escorted Reese through a cluttered laundry room and a small kitchen, equally cluttered but surprisingly clean, where Chris was putting another kettle on. On the other side of the kitchen counter was a tiny room almost entirely occupied by a couch and an easy chair. One wall was swallowed up by a fireplace, over which hung a massive sword—a claymore, Reese thought. A small fire was going, and the room was warm.
She closed her eyes for a second. That only two hours ago she had thrown herself off a cliff in a vain attempt to drown herself seemed about as far away and unreal as hope. Strange how life could hang on and continue even when she didn’t want it to—stranger that it could bring her somewhere like this, now.
And the sword. Why had the sword come to hand?
The rain nearly masked the sound of a car pulling up outside the cottage, and in a moment the front door pushed open and a woman stumbled in, wrapped in a sleek rain slicker and wearing a kerchief which she promptly pulled off and wrung out. She was short and comfortably built, and her pale hair was twisted in a French knot at the back of her head. Her sharp eyes fixed on Reese immediately.
“So you’re the girl,” she said. “I’m Diane. How are my boys treating you?”
Reese stammered something . . . even she wasn’t sure what words she was trying to say. Mercifully, Tyler and Chris both began to talk, telling this woman—Chris’s mother, Diane—what had happened, from the rescue right down to the demon that had turned into a bat and the sword that had appeared and then dematerialized in Reese’s hand. Getting out of her rain slicker and boots, Diane listened intently and nodded, without interrupting or appearing surprised at any point.
Finally she crossed the tiny room and took Reese’s arm. Her hands were weathered and heavy veined, older than the rest of her, and cold from the drive through the rain.
“Sit,” she said. “I think we should all sit.”
They did. Chris and Tyler looked uncomfortable, and after about half a second Chris stood up again and positioned himself in front of the fireplace. His mother didn’t chastise him.
“I saw it,” she said without any more preamble. “The demon. I see things sometimes—the boys know. That’s how I knew to get up here fast.”
She peered along her nose at Reese. Her eyes were blue. “And you,” she said. “You are a part of the Oneness.”
For an instant Reese thought she would not find her voice, or even the breath to say it. But she did—somehow she did.
“No,” she said. “No, I’m an exile.”

Thank you for a wonderful interview, Rachel. And for that intriguing snippet!
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