Giveaway! Rodeo Family by Shannon Taylor Vannatter!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Shannon Vannatter, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?
I had a creative writing class in the 3rd grade and loved it. My teacher was very complimentary and encouraging about a few short stories I wrote. But I never had any other classes like that. As a preteen, we moved away from all my friends and it took me a while to acclimate. With lots of alone time, I created a story in my head. Sometimes, I’d act it out in my locked bedroom with lots of drama.
Since I watched a lot of hunky detective shows, my story was a damsel in distress and cute detective to the rescue. I’d add scenes, more drama, and change the end. I thought it was a movie, but I didn’t want to go to Hollywood, so I didn’t know what to do with it.
When I was fifteen, I met my future husband and started living my own romance. I forgot about
Rodeo%2BFamily%2Bcover - Giveaway! Rodeo Family by Shannon Taylor Vannatter!

the story. Until fifteen years later when my husband started working evenings. We didn’t have our son yet and I needed something to occupy my evenings. I went to the library to find clean romance books like I’d read as a teen, but I couldn’t find any.

That’s when I remembered my long ago story and thought—Hey, that could be a book. Once I started writing it, my characters kept talking to God. Even though I was unaware of the Christian fiction market, I let them. I didn’t know about Christian books because the library didn’t really carry them back then. Fourteen years later, that story became my 8th published title, Rodeo Queen. I had to go back and completely rewrite it because when I originally wrote it, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?
The standard response for a Christian is the Bible, I’m sure. It’s truly a life changing book. Other than that, I can’t remember the story, title, or author, but it was a Heartsong Presents book. It was the first inspirational romance I’d ever read. I’d completed my book, learned there was a Christian market and a writing friend loaned me a Heartsong. It was an awesome experience to read a clean romance with a gospel message like I’d written and know it had gotten published. I had a lot to learn though. I stopped counting rejections at 200 and spent the next 9 1/2 years attending conferences and workshops before I finally got published.
If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?
This is a book, you dork. If I’d realized that story in my head was a book, I’d have started writing sooner.
5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out?Homemade, if I don’t have to make it. I sincerely hate cooking. I do it anyway, but it frustrates the life out of me.
Email or snailmail? Email. I never was much of a letter writer even before email.
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Online. I hide under the covers on Black Friday. Besides I’m not a morning person. Even though I’m an avid bargain shopper, no bargain is worth that.
Books or movies? Books definitely. And I like paper. I only read digital if it’s a title by one of my favorite authors and it doesn’t come in paper. I like seeing my books lined up on the shelf. When they’re in my tablet, I don’t feel like I really own the book.
Note-taker or memorization? Note-taker definitely. Ever since my son was born, my memory is gone.         
Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?
Rodeo Queen will probably always be my favorite since it lived in my head for so long. But I love all of them and I miss the characters after I complete their books. Especially when I end a series. Maybe that’s why my rodeo series has gone on for so long—I’m attached to the characters.
Places for readers to learn more about you?

Learn more about Shannon and her books at and check out her real life romance blog at Connect with her on Facebook:, Goodreads:, Pinterest:, and Twitter: @stvauthor.

Thank you for being with us today!

Thanks Casey 🙂

Rodeo%2BFamily%2Bcover - Giveaway! Rodeo Family by Shannon Taylor Vannatter!
Readers, enter to win Shannon’s book here! 

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

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Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on January 23rd
Attn Readers! If you’re struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you’ve failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@) 
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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.