Monday, October 26, 2015

Interview with Author C.B. Cook

Hey, Everyone! Today I have a treat for you--an interview with the teenage author, C.B. Cook! Please read on and leave her some love in the comments!

The Interview

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Did you always love writing?

I’m not sure, exactly. I wrote my first “book” (a total of ten pages, max) in fourth or fifth grade for a school assignment. Sometime after that, I started writing horse books. Most of these were actually of a decent size, although I actually only finished one. Then I finally flipped it around and wrote a non-horse story, and that was my first “real” story that I actually finished! I’ve been writing pretty steadily ever since then.

2. Tell us a bit about your published work, Paralyzed Dreams.

Paralyzed Dreams is a story I wrote for my mom for Christmas. She used to be a volleyball player, and that was my initial inspiration for the story. Eventually, it morphed into a story about God’s love and grace, and learning to rely on him through whatever trials we have to go through.

3. Can you tell us a little about what you're working on now?

Right now, I’m working on a contemporary novel about a blind girl named Chloe and her friends and family. It’s more of a feels-y story than some of my other stuff, including Paralyzed Dreams, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. Chloe’s a great character, and I’ve enjoyed writing first person from her point of view. Lots of exciting stuff…

4. This is a tough one. :) What are you top five favorite books/series?

Assuming we’re talking about fiction here, My absolute favorite book/series ever is The Lord of the Rings. Honestly, ever since I read it, it’s made it so much easier to answer the favorite book question. Four more… Definitely The Lunar Chronicles – the characters and plot are just amazing. Cress is my favorite so far. Along with that is The Ilyon Chronicles, which also has amazing characters and plot, and fantastic worldbuilding. Then of course my longtime favorite, The Chronicles of Narnia. You can never outgrow Aslan! And finally, a single, The Auschwitz Escape. That book was just wonderful.

5. Do you have a favorite spot you like to read or write at?

Not necessarily. I usually read on my bed, with blankets on top of me in the winter, or in the car, when I’m not driving. But I can read pretty much anywhere.

6. What's a unique(strange?) fact about yourself?

The only problem with this question is… which one? I started Tae Kwon Do this summer, and I’ll be testing for my yellow belt this month. It’ll probably help any fight scenes I write be more realistic. And, yeah, it’s fun.

7. Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Don’t be afraid to dream big, and to seek God’s plan in your life! Listen to his calling, don’t ignore it. And when faced with an opportunity, don’t let fear stop you. Go out there and change the world my minions!

Thank you, C.B.! Y'all make sure to check out her Author Website and her blog!

You can find her novella here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Interview with Sarah M. Johnson, Author of "Life is Beautiful"

Sarah M. Johnson shares part of her own touching story with us today. Keep reading to hear more from Sarah and more about her book, Life is Beautiful!

Life is Beautiful by Sarah M. Johnson

Life is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God, by Sarah M. Johnson, takes you on a full journey of trauma, loss, and finally resilience. While on a mission’s trip in Guatemala, a small Cessna Caravan’s engine blows while carrying fourteen passengers. Unfortunately, the Cessna crashes in a remote village, leaving eleven of the fourteen passengers dead. One passenger, Sarah, shares her story in Life is Beautiful, about the deaths of her father and brother; her mother’s extreme physical and emotional injuries, and Sarah’s self-discovery to accept this new life.

Life is Beautiful, however, is more than a story about an airplane crash. Life is Beautiful shares the personal struggles of Sarah’s father’s drug use, his recovery, and redemption to be a better person. He gives back by doing missions work in Africa, takes in Sarah’s aunt dying of uterine cancer, and eventually leads their family to the mountains of Guatemala. Sarah also discusses her struggles with alcohol use and depression; where she eventually hits rock bottom. It is not until she starts seeking God through prayer, books, and therapy, where she starts to turn her life around.

Life is Beautiful is not only a unique story, but it shows the strength of God’s Will. When all hope is lost, she never gives up on God. This story is a true testimony of God’s love for His people, and when one seeks a spiritual journey and connection with God; He gives back in love, forgiveness, and happiness.

Life is Beautiful will be released on August 25, 2015. It is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:

Sarah M. Johnson is currently a graduate student seeking her Marriage and Family Therapy degree. She will graduate in 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. After graduating, she plans to open up a private practice office and guide those who are seeking their own self-discoveries of love and happiness.

Sarah believes that adversity is a gateway for change, and that through the difficult times of sorrow, loss, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma, disease, or other mental illness, we can use this adversity to self-explore and change for the better. We must not run away from the adversity, but face it, heal, and use this particular adversity as a learning lesson.

We all have the capacity to be happy and love ourselves; but we must utilize all necessary support systems, medical professionals, mental health professionals, Religious affiliations, (and many more that I am not mentioning) to help us find the Power Within. The Power Within helps us to accept our adversity and create necessary change for a life of love and happiness.

To learn more, go to 

Connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Chapter 1 The Crash

I remember all of the emotions, the trees whipping by, everything happening so fast, dad yelling, Here we go, and mom screaming, Stop it. I remember my brother Zachary looking back at me, his eyes bright with fear as I prayed God please...

I remember the sense of something coming; you know it’s coming and wonder: will I live?

I remember the violence of the plane plowing into the ground as we attempted an emergency landing in a roughhewn field...Boom, boom, boom...and then nothing but an unnerving silence.

I don’t know if I blacked out or merely paused with my eyes closed in the stillness of those first few moments. Awareness comes slowly. Then in a rushed breath of shock and revelation, Thank God I’m alive.

My eyes open to an eerily lit silence where sunlight and shadow intermingle, making it difficult to see into the new geography of the plane’s interior. My head and body buzz. My mind trips on the dissonance of dangling upside down, held a few inches from the ceiling of the plane’s cabin by my seatbelt.

Taking stock of my body, I notice that I peed my pants and there is a small cut on my left arm. Looking up, I see that one foot is missing its shoe. My eyes squint into bright sunlight that passes through a relatively large doorway next to me that was torn open.

The only noise to break the silence is the erratic popping of electricity; the final groans of a dying airplane.

I move my arms first and then my legs, which causes small shards of glass to fall from where they’re lodged in my clothes and upturned seat. I tilt my head back toward the ceiling beneath me and it is covered in broken glass.

My hair dangles down away from my face, but the position of my body and the way sunlight cuts through the cabin makes it difficult to see much of the plane. In those few seconds I realize that I am okay and begin to think that maybe we are all okay; that the crash wasn’t so bad.

Interview with the Author

1. What is one of the main things you want readers to take away from your memoir?

I want readers to know we all go through difficult times in our lives. We go through these difficult times ever wondering if they will pass, we question "why me?" we even wonder if we have the strength within ourselves to get through it. But, I want people who read, Life is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God to know is that no matter what happens in our life, whether it be a particular trauma, loss, divorce, relationship conflict, job loss, illness, financial crisis, etc. that we all have the capacity to get through it. And once we get through this difficult time in our life, we have the ability to become stronger individuals because of it.

2. What was it like for you, writing out your story? Do you think the writing process contributed to the healing process?

Writing my story was not only healing, but it allowed me to go back in time and relive the trauma, hurt, and reality I experienced. Reliving the experience of the airplane crash was something I had done in therapy, but writing it out alone, I was able to heal a lingering wound. When I was writing, I was able to cry again and be "in the moment." Experiencing this pain again, alone, allowed me to grow and blossom personally as well as professionally.

Writing also allowed me to understand
who I was at the time, as well as my father, mother, and brother. I was able to see my family as characters in life with love and compassion vs. being entangled with judgement and harsh criticism on the reality of my experience during the two years the book takes place. For me, looking at my life during the times of alcoholism, experiencing my father being caught for his drug use, and the real struggle my mother and I faced during all this of, it is easy to judge myself and my family for the choices we all made. But when we are all merely characters, it is easier for me to look at myself and my family with true compassion, love and acceptance.

3. What compelled you to publish your story, rather than keeping it to yourself?

I knew I was going to write a book and share my story with the world right after the crash occurred. Surviving an airplane crash, yet alone walking away with no physical injuries, is not very common. My story is unique, but it is also inspiring. I knew my story could personally touch others and I needed to share it with the world! Sharing my story of trauma, loss, and resiliency is my purpose on this planet. I look forward to this journey.

4. Your bio says that you believe "adversity is a gateway for change." Could you explain that further?

As mentioned before, we all go through difficult times in our lives. For me, I awakened to my reality and life only because I experienced death and trauma through a vigorous airplane crash. I was forced to start life over, at the age of 19, because half my family was killed (dad and my brother) and my mother was seriously injured. With the help of therapy and my Higher Power, I was able to look at my experience with acceptance and allow myself to be sad and allow all other feelings arise when necessary.

As time passed, I slowly was able to look at my life as a series as events. All the difficult times, or adversities as I like to say, challenged me and brought me pain. It was not until I faced the true pain of my experiences was I able to grow and develop compassion, empathy, and understanding of myself and others. I believe adversity is a gateway for change, because when we go through difficult times and use them as lessons in our life, we become better individuals.

Everybody on this planet goes through adversity in their life. For many of us, the adversity is out of our control. When we truly face the pain of our adversity, or do the "work" as I like to say, can we blossom into the people we are destined to be. This work involves accepting we want more or that we are hurt and want something different, and reaching out for help. This help may be with God, through a church group, a therapist, spiritual mentor, or a trusted family member or friend. We bond with others through our vulnerability and suffering; which brings about compassion and love for ourselves and others. If we have true compassion and love for others, because of our adversities, then we are one step closer to our purpose as human beings.

5. What part would you say God played in turning your life around?

God came into my life when I was 18 years old. As a young girl, I was always curious about God, but never really realized how much I yearned for this special relationship. It was not until I was speaking with a young man, who I dated at the time, where my curiosity spiked. One night, he asked me to take his hands, and I reluctantly did. As I did, however, I was sucked into the Light… a channel, a wormhole. In that very moment, I knew God was real, because I physically saw the Light. More about this experience is found in my book Life is Beautiful.

After this experience, God was definitely real to me. After I experienced the airplane crash, I used this experience as a foundation for my faith. A faith in knowing I survived for a reason. A faith in knowing I was supposed to use this tragedy to help and inspire others. A faith that God was going to use me… This faith has kept me moving. This faith has allowed me to follow my intuition personally and professionally. God uses all of us; however, this faith is what has turned my life around.

6. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I just want your readers to know that we all struggle. Your readers right now are struggling with something in their life. I want them to know that I have struggled and currently struggle with everyday things. However, I have also made the choice to reach out for help when I needed it the most. I have accepted my pain and allowed it to flourish my life. We can’t run from our pain and expect to be happy. Instead, we must accept our pain, face it with love and compassion, and reach out. Only then, can we move forward with the next chapter in our lives.

If we don’t do the work, attempt to start life over, we may miss the opportunity to see that life is beautiful.
More information about me and my book, Life is Beautiful, be found at

Peace and Love to All.

Thank you so much for being with us, Sarah!

Make sure you guys check out her website and her book to find out more about her story!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book Tubing Vs. Book Blogging: A Guest Post

Hey, everyone! Sorry that Alison and I have not been posting so often. Fortunately, Grace @ Loving My Lit was kind enough to step up and write a guest post for us! Please leave some thoughts for her in the comments, and take the time to visit her blog!

Grace's Post:

booktubeI have recently fallen in love with booktube and book vloggers.

"What is this 'booktube'?" you may ask yourself.

Well, booktube is a community on Youtube which has exploded over the past few years. It is where awesome human beings set up some sort of filming device and record themselves gushing over books they love. The fast growing community is a safe and loving environment where lovers of books all congregate and share their passion.

And no, I did not just write that. It's a section from a more detailed article that you can find here, if you're interested.

This is Christine. She's so pretty!
This is Christine. She's so pretty!
I think it's really fun and engaging to watch someone rant about a book that you may or may not have read, and then talk about it with them in the comments. One of my favorite booktubers ever is Christine from PolandBananasBOOKS (and no, she is not Polish). She is energetic and funny, and she has this long blonde hair that I am so jealous of! Her book talks are very engaging and there's a lot of general excitement (and screaming). Which I can totally connect with, being a fellow fangirl myself. :).

Fun fact about me & booktube: it was a big part of my life even before I started book blogging. It's actually what lead me to start my blog. Because as much as I'd love to buy a camera and sit in front of my bookshelves and babble, I just don't think I would find it fun (after a while), and it's really not my 'thing'. I love to watch it, though! That will never change.

So blogging was my outlet. I think everybody has a certain way of dealing with all those feelings and opinions after reading a book. Some people rant to their friends, some people rant to the internet. I'm one of the latter.

And today, I'd like to discuss with you why I chose book blogging over book tubing. But not only that! I'd also like to look at the pros and cons of both, and their different uses and needs.

So join me, for today is about dreams. (That's a quote from Tina Fey's memoir Bossypants, which is amazing!)


Now, we all know that money is involved here. For bloggers, it's generally cheaper. If you blog for free on Wordpress or Blogger, then you probably don't pay anything. If you have your own site, it's about $5-10 a month to host. So you spend about $120 on it a year.

But for booktubers, it's a whole other story. You have to buy a nice camera (if you want anyone to watch your videos), and this camera could be up there in the thousands. You probably need to buy editing software, unless you use whatever came with your computer. Software can be really expensive! And I haven't even begun with the studio lighting, tripod... there's a lot of equipment involved.


Time is very important, and the amount of effort you put into something can really make a difference. The blogging community has to put a great deal of time into their schedules, formatting, writing, and theme. The layout of your blog can take days to customize perfectly, and even writing simple reviews takes a lot of thought and time. It also takes a while in general terms for your blog to build up a follower count and really start getting noticed.

I believe, however, that booktubers have to spend far more time on just one single video. They don't have an entire website to create, but each video must be set up, filmed, processed, edited, and uploaded. Not to mention vlogging (if they do have a personal vlog), we're just talking about nitty-gritty reviews here. It takes a good seven hours to edit a good video, and uploading it to YouTube can be seemingly endless.

You need to consider space when you begin blogging or vlogging. Space for shelves, space for computers, space for setup, space for equipment. Again, I think bloggers have a far easier time with this, because let's be honest: we all blog in bed, with blankets over our heads, at 2 am in the morning... or at least, I do. :P Hardly anyone sees your bookshelves, so that's not a problem (unless your a perfectionist like me). In the end, it's much easier and takes less space.

If you decide to vlog, then you are going to need a ton of space to store your equipment, and also to set up and actually film videos! Your bookshelves also will probably need to look nice, and that means space for big bookshelves that can actually hold stuff. No more piles, guys. You will need the real effing deal with shelving.
sponsor_thanks_image1 Now, I'm fairly new at this whole blogging business, so I haven't had any major sponsors yet, but I still feel qualified to speak about this because I use le internetz. 

Booktubers tend to get more sponsors. That's a definite problem. Publishers like Random House and Harlequinn Teen figure that, "Oh, my book is going to be shown on camera, and there will be lots of talking about them! Let's sponsor these booktubers!"

I don't think it's the same for book bloggers. Companies just don't value the written word as much as the spoken word (is that even a phrase?), and it hurts the blogging community. But then again, bloggers do get more ARCs and self-published books, so it's a win-win.

Why I Chose Blogging

I'm kind of a lazy person. I'm also just a teenager, so I can't exactly buy my own camera and software. I don't have a professional laptop, I just use my iPad and a bluetooth-connected keyboard. I honestly don't have the time to film and edit huge videos. And I would be really nervous about hate comments and trolls.

As you can see, with the pro-con(ish) list above, blogging is ultimately far easier than vlogging. BUT THAT DOES NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, MEAN THAT BLOGGING IS WORSE THAN VLOGGING. Bloggers put so much thought and effort into writing and editing posts, and graphics are harder than you'd think to come up with! Even though I chose the easier way to rant, it still takes up a lot of my time and energy. So, I can't be as lazy as I imagined I could be. *sobs and eats cake*

In the end, blogging was just a better choice for me and it was also my preference. I love making friends through blogging and Twitter, and it's been really fun for me so far. Of course, I support both bloggers and vloggers (like I said before, I watch tons of vloggers on YouTube and enjoy chatting with them). :) So, thanks for listening to my rant!

It's Time for YOUR Thoughts!

What do you think about my reasons? Are you a vlogger or blogger? Leave any links in the comments and I'll check them out! :)