Book Interview

I did an interview recently for Pittsburg State University and their Alumni Book Club. The book Searching for Fire, a YA Fantasy book, was featured this summer as one of their selection. Here is the interview with Ruth from the PSU Book Club. It was my first interview for the book and I was a little nervous but it seemed to go quite well. I talked about publishing with Archway, which was a very positive experience, as well as inspirations and ideas and images for the book. Here is the video:

Making Origami Ladybugs

It’s Sunday morning during the pandemic. It was raining and hailing hard outside so I decided to do some relaxing stuff. I like origami. Do you?

Here’s a great book of instructions to make about 50 different origami shapes. I’m on level 1 difficulty shapes right now. Here’s what I made:

Do you have a favorite hobby book on your shelf? I’d love to hear recommendations to order on Amazon.

Have a great Sunday!

4 Books by New Author

J Speer

During social distancing and quarantine time, I’ve had some time to work on these writings. These 4 books are available as eBooks on Amazon. The three self-published works are available for $2.99 as an eBook and the book published by Archway Publishing is available for $3.99 as an eBook. Searching for Fire is also available as a paperback book for $12.99. Searching for Fire has received a great review from Midwest Quarterly Book Review in their December 2019 Issue. It has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and a few really nice reviews from readers. Searching for Fire came out in July 2019.

The other three books are brand new, released just in the past weeks during the social distancing time. I would recommend Summertime Adventures for ages 7 and up. It is definitely G or PG rating. The Curse of the Sapphire Jewel is for ages 15 and up. It is more adult and has 6 short stories based on works posted on this blog. The last book is a collection of poetry based on my life and the lives of my children. I would say this one is for ages 15 and up. All three of these works are writings I developed over the course of ten years and finally got the confidence to publish.

If you read any of them, I would love to hear your feedback or post a review!

Thanks for your interest and please share any information you like with others. Click on the Amazon links to read the previews and find out more info about the books or author.

I am from southeast Kansas. I have lived in Germany and Virginia as a military spouse. I have a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and studied abroad in Israel as a college student. I used to work for the Army and then as an HR manager for manufacturing. Now, I work at a frame shop for photography and artwork. I love my job for MPix.com. I like to write poetry, short stories, and work on other creative writing in my free time. Other hobbies are knitting, cooking, and gardening. I love gardening a lot! Just finished putting in my summer garden this past week and hoping to have lots of fruits and veggies to share with family and friends. It has gotten colder the last few days here in Kansas and I sincerely hope and pray I won’t have to replant due to frost.

I hope you are safe and well. I have been blogging recently about my family’s “social distancing YouTube trips.” You can find out more about this on my blog. So far, we have learned about Tokyo’s Akihabara District, Kyoto, the planet Mars, the Pyramids of Egypt, and Universal Studios/Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. Next stop on our adventures…..the Taj Mahal.

Thanks for your interest and have a good day!

Books

I self-published 3 books to Amazon Kindle recently. The last book is my favorite and is a collection of children’s stories based on the true childhood adventures of my own kids. This book is called Summertime Adventures and is a short read, about 60 pages long on the Kindle. The writing reminds me of cartoons like Caillou or maybe Max and Ruby.

There are three children in the book called Jake, Lucy, and Danny. The children go on numerous adventures outside in nature, fishing with Grandpa, visiting an old Apple Cider Mill, picking raspberries in the sun, flying kites, and tubing at the lake. These adventures are definitely family-friendly and would make good bedtime stories. Check it out here. The eBook is $2.99 or you can view it via Kindle Unlimited.

Here also are the other 3 books available from J. Speer. Moment of Magic is a poetry collection and is $2.99 for Kindle eBook. Age level for this book, I would say is adult.

The Curse of the Sapphire Jewel & Other Short Stories is also $2.99 as an eBook on Amazon. This book is age level adult as well. There are 5 short stories in the book, each very unique in their storytelling.

The last book is published via Archway and is the most popular one. It is a North American action adventure quest and mythology story. It is very fast-paced and can be intense at moments with scary villains the heroes combat. This one has a 4.6 star rating on Amazon and some great reviews. I would recommend this one for 15 years old or adult age level. This one got a very positive review from Diane Donovan of Midwest Book Review in their December 2019 issue. It is available as paperback or eBook and sold on numerous sites online: Amazon, Archway, Barnes and Noble, Google Books, Waterstones, Foyles, Wal-mart, Ebay, etc. etc.

Here, below are the links to the collection of books and each one features a book preview section on Amazon you can read. Thanks for your interest and have a great day!

New Poetry and Short Stories

Hi folks, just wanted to let you know I self-published a book of poetry called Moment of Magic. It is selling just as an eBook for $2.99 on Amazon. The book is various poems I have written over the years. Many of the poems are meant to be inspiring and uplifting. Some are poems about raising children, or being a working mom, or time spent with the military. Some are poems I wrote for my children. Others are poems about love or just reflections on life. The first and last poem in the collection are my favorites and tie in together nicely. The collection is less than a 100 pages and a good quick read for anyone that likes poetry. Thanks and God bless. Be safe everybody.

Here is the link to the book and if you press the look inside portion about the book, you can read the first three poems. Thanks again!

Along with the poetry collection called Moment of Magic that I self-published to Amazon, I created a book called The Curse of the Sapphire Jewel & Other Short Stories. It is a small collection of brief fictional stories, each one unique in storytelling. The first story is about a stolen jewel and the consequence of theft. The second story is about a college student named Amara and a decision she makes to forgive her father. The third story is a funny and interesting first chapter. It is a work of alliteration about a Medieval monastery of Moldavia. The next story is a Medieval comparison story to France during World War II. Finally, the last story is titled Black Sheep. It is a story where I took a typical antagonist, a supreme villain, and tried to show a more sympathetic and compassionate almost positive side to the character. This short book is about 65 pages long and is selling for just $2.99 as an eBook or can be found for free reading on Kindle Unlimited. Thank you and I would love to hear your feedback on any of the stories. Have a wonderful day!

Cold Days in November

I’m pretty busy this time of year. Work really picks up at the photography frame shop before Christmas. The majority of our sales are made in these two months. In addition, we’ve had some really cold and blustery snowy days lately and unfortunately, a pipe busted at the house so we are working on plumbing too. We just finished painting the last room in our home right before the plumbing concern happened. The painted room is a warm cappuccino brown color and really lovely. But between the plumbing and the painting…..I’ve got lots of work to do to get the house back in order. We had to shut off the water till the plumber arrives, so the dishes and laundry are starting to pile up high. He’ll be here tomorrow and I’ll be so grateful to see him.

I wanted to take some time to just check up on my blogger friends and see how you all are doing. I hope all is going well for you too, my writer friends, and best of luck with the writing!

I don’t really have any events planned for winter with the book Searching for Fire. But I have registered the book for consideration for a few award contests: American Book Fest Best Book Award 2019, Bram Stoker Award 2019, and Indie Diamond Book Award 2019.

I’ve also been working on a poetry collection and submitted it for the Lexi Rudnitsky First Poetry Book contest. I sent another poetry collection to the 29th Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize. And I met a very nice woman who said she’d help me with editing a manuscript I wrote for a science fiction story.

Hope you all are having a good evening too and, if you are experiencing this cold snow as well, I hope you are warm and cozy inside your home. Feel free to drop me a comment or two about how things are going for you. Thanks!

1st Professional Review

I’m happy to announce we received the first professional book review for Searching for Fire published July 2019. It is a great review and comes from The Midwest Book Review. This review will show in the Midwest Book Review December Issue online under the California Bookwatch.

Searching for Fire reaches young adult fantasy readers with a vivid story of a battle between gods that places a young pregnant woman in the middle of danger and conflict during the rebirth of the world.

If this premise sounds more adult in its complexity, be advised that Searching for Fire is recommended for mature teens, and is quite accessible to this audience. A prologue sets the stage for the characters and action that draws readers in (“This is not our first world. In the beginning, the Sun Spirit created our land and established the Elemental Code for our existence. All the living creatures inhabited this world for the benefit of the Great Spirits in the sky. When the hearts of the land’s inhabitants decayed, these same Great Spirits rained fire down from the sky. Among the smoke and ash, a second world was reborn. It prospered, but as with the cycle of the first, the decay returned. The Great Spirits chose this time to bury our world in ice. As to the third world, our people were gifted with the presence of the fire bringer named Ahiga.”).

Having this succinct review of the premise and environment offers readers an immediate ability to absorb the concerns and revelations of the story, which moves from the introduction to the crux of affairs when, generations later, a baby is rescued from a shapeshifter wolf pack. This event leads a young boy, his sister, and a wise medicine man on a journey to find a legendary Fire Spirit to save their village from destruction.

As the story unfolds, the clash between ordinary heroes and evil forces becomes a compelling investigation of not just the motives of those who undergo a quest, but the perceptions of those they leave behind: “Charles continued after drawing once more on his pipe. “There comes a time in a young man’s life when he must set out on his own … to set his own path through life.” Again, more silence. “You’re going with them, then?” Charles motioned to the closed entrance door to the cabin. Sam looked at Charles sadly at this point and said, “Yes, they need my help.” Charles just nodded. He thought sadly to himself that there are some things which must be set free.”

From windows of opportunity that open and shut to personal struggles with fear and threats (“He did his best to be at ease. Be like Charles. He kept saying this over and over in his head. He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to be back on the barge with the barge master, back in Stoney Creek. He was beginning to feel deeply afraid.”), J. Speer’s story goes beyond a fantasy quest to probe the feelings and evolution of those who journey through an unfamiliar, frightening world.

It should be noted that some conflict descriptions are explicit, which further reinforces the recommendation that the best audience for Searching for Fire will be mature teens to new adults and adults. These readers will find such descriptions tasteful and in keeping with the overall story, and will appreciate the inspections into motive, good and evil forces, and psychological growth that blend into the adventure and action. The story even ventures into realms controlled by the legendary Ahiga and the gods in a quest for balance, victory, and salvation from the threatening forces of darkness.

The result is a compelling, involving tale that excels in revealing the growth of all characters as they confront higher purposes and challenges than their individual daily lives. “

First Book Reading

We had a great time at the Joplin Public Library attending the Joplin Writers’ Faire. There were around 30 writers at the event doing readings and signings. We donated 2 books to area libraries and sold books as well. We bought a book by FC Shultz titled The Rose Weapon. It is a book about Vikings and dragons. We also bought a children’s book and a Vietnam true stories book by Ronald Mosbaugh. It was a great event. Thanks to the Joplin Public Library for their beautiful new building and wonderful hospitality. This was my first reading of Searching for Fire and it went really well. Here are some photos of the event.


Nice Article

I drove over to Parsons today to pick up a copy of their newspaper, The Parsons Sun. Colleen Williamson wrote a really nice article about Searching for Fire. I’m really happy with it.

In other news, I was invited to talk with a local junior high English class about working with a publishing company and the process of writing to book launch. I’m really looking forward to that day and am starting to prepare for it.