About My Book

Learn more about my first book, Six Pack: Emergence.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Guest Post: Kadee Carder

Kadee Carder is my guest blogger this week, so I am going to turn it over to her. Thank you, Kadee, for stopping by!

A man walking through a valley hears a thundering roar. He stops in his tracks. A giant boulder tumbles to the ground before him, blocking his path between the narrow mountain pass. He must get to the village beyond; it’s his destination. He cannot turn back; days of travel lay behind him and he has limited supplies.

Does the man yell? Shout? Roar in callous anger at the fallen rock? Would it do any good to yell at the rock? No. He must find a way over the boulder. He takes one step forward, and another, digging his fingers into the crusty earth, plotting footholds up, up, and over that wall. As he jumps down the final steps beyond the boulder, he looks back. His arms tremble with power, he slaps his gritty palms together vigorously. The wind coursing through his lungs inundates his hearty chest. He overcame the rock, and he continues on his way toward home.

Are you battling fallen rocks? Are you stuck? Are you struggling with hard things happening and you don’t know what to do about them? Ownership, owning your decisions and experiences in the light of adversity, offers the foothold over the boulder. You cannot control outcomes, others, or the falling rocks. You just have to deal with those falling rocks. Those monsters. Those dragons. Those feelings of inadequacy or unimportance. You can control your decisions and how you act. You can choose to search for footholds rather than yell at the rock. Instead of complaining about the rock, instead of shouting angry words at the shadows, you can instead move forward with gratitude, thankful for the rock and all it teaches you.

See, those monsters, those shadows, those obstacles, they teach you who your soul craves to be. They show you just where you need to go. Did the man need to get home? Yes. But did he need an opportunity to see how strong he could be? Yes, even more, in fact. More than the final destination is the journey along the way. This life you’ve got, it’s pretty brilliant. It’s filled with moments where you can choose to be the hero. When you embrace the challenge, when you act with purpose, when you stay the course, that’s when you fully realize life itself. “Everything you have ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear” (George Addair).  In facing your fears, you shine the light on the shadows of what you truly need to do on this planet.

I found this myself after receiving a horrible review on one of my books. If you have ever made anything, you understand the risks involved of letting all your inside hopes and dreams be smashed to bits by an unhappy audience. Well. I’ve always been competitive and a high achiever. I go big. I do my best. It’s all on the line. Also, if you’ve ever created anything, you know that your first attempt at something isn’t what you will eventually be able to do. I wrote a trilogy of young adult novels and I love them with all I have. I did my best. Apparently, not everyone agrees. That’s okay. That’s life, folks. That’s art. Well. As I read this horrible review, and allthefeelings overcame me, my husband straight up said, “If you can’t take the bad reviews, then you might as well give up now.” I took a long walk that night under the starry sky. First of all, even though my heart sank, my feet didn’t. My heart didn’t stop beating. In fact, the next morning, waking up to the cleared out cobwebs of loss and horror, and realizing everything I believed about myself had changed….I found a blissful freedom. As if the shades had lifted. As if the sun shone, no matter what. See, the Son does shine no matter what. I’ve been put on this planet for a reason. I’m not always sure what it is, but he gave me these stories to share to encourage people. He gave me stories so I can learn to tell better stories. If that means taking some hard hits, then bring them on. I took an objective look at my writing, at my weaknesses where I could improve, at my strengths, and where I needed to dig in and sharpen the tools and my ability to use them. Meeting failure head-on made me reach higher. Every hero faces that in his plotline. Do you want to be the hero? Then get ready for some falling rocks. Brace for impact. And aren’t we excited for it?

The good news? You’re stronger than you know, and you discover it when the rocks fall before you. You’re braver than you know, and you unsheathe it when the dragons rear back their heads. You’re much more capable than you know, and you sharpen it when the hammer drops.

Every challenge, where you find yourself complaining or blaming, offers you the opportunity to become the best version of you. Greet those dragons with a brief nod, then rage onward—with kindness, courage, grit, and hope. Yes, you can.

The conqueror acts. He plans. He plans backup plans.
And he beats the war drums.
Just like those voices demanded, I dug into the sand and the mud,
and readied for battle.
My lead, my call, my terms. My war cadence. My dragons.
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he's been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world's borders.

Pound the war drums. Rattle the cages. Here be Dragons.

Fierce yet sparkly, I help seekers find brave new worlds. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. I teach English on the university level when I'm not dancing around the living room with my family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or binging superhero shows.

The INSURRECTION trilogy, HERE BE DRAGONS, and non-fiction inspirational IGNITE roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure, and follow along at KadeeCarder.com.
Here Be Dragons is a standalone novel, but it does follow my Insurrection trilogy. We see a few characters we met on those luxurious Caribbean beaches. Tucker was the romantic interest from the trilogy. After writing the trilogy, I felt like readers needed to know Tucker more, and he had to complete this assignment. Might as well follow along! No need to have read the trilogy; this book records its own wild adventure!

With over ten years of experience specializing in metabolic conditioning, and as the official trainer of the Alliance Military Guard, Fit By Faith© owner Krista Johnson has created ten workouts to get you in gear and ready to crush life. Utilizing a variety of whole-body strengthening techniques, your FREE WORKOUTS will be just what you needed to start your new year off the right way. Each of the ten workouts can be completed at home or in a gym, and takes approximately thirty minutes or less.
Submit your pre-order receipt to KadeeCarder.com/HereBeDragons and receive your own Alliance Military Guard Training Guide containing TWO WEEKS worth of exercises, guaranteed to get you in battle-ready shape to train as a Guardsman.
This gift with purchase will ONLY be available on pre-orders! Offer expires January 1st, 2018 at 11:59 PM Central time. Remember to submit your purchase receipt to the link above, otherwise I will not know you have purchased. And you NEED THIS GUIDE! Hoo-rah!

Purchase here be dragons on kindle unlimited for only $4.99:
(here be dragons releases January 2, 2018)

Visit http://www.kadeecarder.com for inspiration, radio interviews, gift certificates, freebie codes, and more!
Let’s connect on social media!
Website: kadeecarder.com
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Twitter: @kadeecarderink

And please feel free to subscribe for encouraging blogs! Kadeecarder.com
I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com. Titled IGNITE, the 60-page book offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Book Review: Grimm Remains

Grimm Remains is the sequel to Eli Celata's debut novel High Summons, in which Jon continues his studies with Jordan about demon hunting, which takes a more challenging turn thanks to the arrival of havfine, or demonic mermaids that usually stay in ocean waters but have shown up in Lake Ontario.

I enjoyed following Jon's journey in learning more about demon hunting and the skills it requires, all while he's having to keep it a secret from his college friends, with whom he now shares an apartment. It gets challenging when Jon experiences encounters with demons and mystical forces at the apartment itself, certainly a situation that makes for awkward moments.

All the while, as Jon learns more about everyone in Rochester who is tasked with protecting the people from demons, he and Jordan are tasked with having to locate three missing orphans, during which Jon learns more not only about his father, but Jordan's as well.

What makes the book work is the main character and the struggles he goes through. He wants to learn more about demon hunting, only to find out how difficult certain skills can be to master, and how difficult it can be to keep demons away when he just wants to spend time with his friends. And then there's Jon's relationship with his mother -- he goes through a period in which he doesn't keep in touch with her and that leads to bigger problems for the relationship between Jon and Jordan.

I did find the pacing to be problematic -- certain chapters went too long when they might have benefitted from a break in the action, with a page turner that prompts the reader to keep going. Other chapters were too short for my liking.

But I liked the main character so much and had plenty of interest in learning how his relationship with Jordan further develops. Grimm Remains is a good follow-up to the first book and a recommended read. You may order it here.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Review: Incomplete

I previously reviewed Kadee Carder's debut novel Insurrection. I liked it so much, I decided to pick up the sequel, Incomplete.

The book continues to follow the journey of Saylor, who now must adjust to her new life as a soldier, all while knowing that her commanding officer is her father and that she is working side by side with her twin brother Logan. The familial ties add a new dimension to the conflict, in which Saylor sees things quite differently from her father and often disobeys orders, all while Logn tries to be the obedient soldier in the presence of their father, but remains sympathetic toward Saylor and sensing she may be right about a few things.

Meanwhile, Saylor finds her relationship with fellow soldier Tucker to grow into something more than just being good friends. She also finds ways to keep her bond with her best friends, now holding other positions on the military base on this Carribbean island. Saylor must ask the question about what it is that she's destined to be -- the type of girl her father wants her to be or the type of person she thinks she's meant to be.

Kadee continues to do a good job making Saylor a complex yet sympathetic character who maintains a sassy attitude, never swaying from what she believes is the right course. Saylor must also learn how to experience a life she was never used to before -- how she once grew up in a boarding school but now experiences more luxuries once she learns more about her family. It ties into her father wanting her to take her birth name, Laurel, and be something other than a soldier, while Saylor feels a stronger tie to the life she's always known and that being a solider is her calling.

As with the first book, I found the pacing to be good and Kadee does a good job building tension when the situation calls for it, then giving readers a breather as she transitions to the next scene.

Incomplete is a recommended read and you may order it here.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Max Headroom Episode 14: Baby Gro Bags

Episode Name: Baby Gro Bags

Premise: Theora's friend Helen arranges to have her baby through OvuVat, a company that creates in vitro babies, but the baby goes missing. Meanwhile, Network 66 tries to lure Bryce away to head up a team of intelligent infants on their show Prodigies.

Themes explored: There is a sense of exploitation of children, even though Network 66's approach is to get permission from parents before featuring their infants on its show -- only it's revealed that OvuVat was taking the sperms and eggs of intelligent parents without their knowledge to clone babies, who are then featured on the show. But even though Network 66 is unaware of OvuVat's practice, there's still a question raised about whether or not a TV show should be focusing on infants in this manner, when these infants are unaware of what is happening.

But a bigger theme gets touched upon regardng OvuVat's process in the first place. Not only does in vitro fertilization being the process of developing the baby, but the entire process is handled from start to finish without the need to put a fertilized egg in a woman's womb. On top of that, parents can choose the sex of the baby and it's free of any defects, diseases or any other complications that could arise during a pregnancy.

For those who have issues with in vitro fertilization as a means of having a baby, imagine what issues you would have if the baby can be developed from start to finish outside a womb. And imagine the ethical issues that might be raised from determing a baby's sex upon conception and a process that ensures no defects. How far do we want to go when it comes to science and genetics, even if it means assuring people who want to have a baby that the baby will be perfect after nine months and the mother won't have to worry about carrying that fetus to term?

And the idea of developing the perfect child from start to finish becomes the opportunity for OvuVat to exploit those parents who wish to use this process, to develop babies who are used for another purpose. It's enough to make you wonder how good of an idea it is to explore childbirth methods other than the way they developed through nature.

Max Headroom quotes:
"I have a mission, too! My mission is to sink the Prodigies show!"
"You can't push your children too hard. It isn't exploitation to breed a champion."
"Here I am on Network 23 to give you my own show. Nothing big, nothing special. Just a humble little thing modestly entitled: Me, Max Headroom, the original prodigy."
"Here we come back for just one more meaningless scene to keep you watching through the commercials." (Here we have Max Headroom breaking the fourth wall.)

Personal observations: This episode never aired in its original run on ABC back in the 1980s, but did make its way into the rotation when it aired on cable television. It's worth tracking down, though, because it does raise ethical issues involved with how far we should go with science when it comes to the process of childbirth.