Today’s Featured Authors: Sarena and Sasha Nanua

Today, I welcome authors Sarena and Sasha Nanua to my blog. The third installment of The Pendant Trilogy, The Poisoned Emerald, will be released September 23rd.


Tell us a bit about yourself. 

We’re twin writers from Mississauga, Ontario, and we’ve been writing since the age of nine. Our favourite kinds of books are fantasy and science-fiction, and we’ve always loved coming up with imaginary characters and fantastical worlds from a young age. This year we’re entering university and we’re really excited to be pursuing a major in English & French lit. We are also really excited for the release of the third and final book in our trilogy, THE POISONED EMERALD.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

As much as we would love to be full-time writers, we’re not (unfortunately). We’ll be attending our first year of university so we’ll only have time to write for class. That’s why we make the most of the summer to work on new projects! Other than writing, we like to read (only, like, all the time), and watch sci-fi shows on TV (the ones that always get canceled). We also like to go outside to get a bit of fresh air when we’re not caught up in the world of another book. Or we’ll just bring the book outside with us. (Why not?)

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

When we began writing, we would just write without fleshing out our ideas. Soon, after countless unfinished stories were thrown into our nightstand, we realized the only way we could really finish a novel was to think of the beginning, middle, and end. And it was so helpful! When we were thirteen, we began to type our story on the computer, and it was the first fully fleshed out novel we ever wrote. And guess what it was? THE GEMSTONE!

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Not exactly. Our main character, Arica Miller, isn’t exactly like my sister and me. However, she does have twin cousins (woot!) with an older brother. Not to mention that we have an older brother. So, of course, we made the twins super awesome, and we made the older brother the exact opposite of ours–totally into books and not video games!

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

We wouldn’t say we necessarily dislike any of our characters–of course, some of them are more likeable than others. But we’d say our favourites would be Ash Graves (Arica’s roommate at her new school) and the headmistress. There’s something very intriguing about the both of them, which you will see as you read THE GEMSTONE!

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

If we could meet two authors, they would be JK Rowling–because she wrote the Harry Potter series and is the reason for our obsession with the books and movies–and Roald Dahl. He’s been one of my (Sasha’s) writing heroes since a young age. He’s the reason I started reading. And I will be forever thankful!

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

This isn’t even a question for us. HARRY POTTER! Ever since we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we’ve been collecting little trinkets from the Harry Potter universe–Dumbledore’s wand, a Harry Potter-themed calendar, a pop-up of Diagon Alley, our Butterbeer cup, etc…

We just love the books and movies so much–who wouldn’t want to live in Hogwarts? It would be so awesome to go to school there. Still waiting for our Hogwarts letters!

Book Synopsis

The Poisoned Emerald.FINAL.inddThe poison is spreading….

I wrapped myself in the portal’s embrace and felt my feet land on a new surface. I stood on a sandy beach that was wet and damp, causing the ground to stick to my shoes. The portal snapped shut, and I felt misty rain dance on my shoulders.                                                                                  

Thunder sounded from overhead, and before I could comprehend the impending storm, a gash of lightning hit the hill just to the right of the river. The ground quaked below me before an explosion of sand burst from the ground.

AS WINTER ARRIVES Arica Miller is back to regular school life at Hill Valley. After resolving the disappearance of the King’s Jewel and returning it safely, Arica doesn’t expect anything else to go wrong. Too soon does Arica learn that a great evil—a poison—has spread through the Sorcerers Underworld, threatening to take away all magic. And worse, the only person who can save the magical world has been kidnapped: the king.

In order to find the king, Arica and her friends must follow an ancient prophecy in which they must defeat vicious creatures, travel through mysterious forests, and restore peace to the poisoned land—no matter how dangerous it could be …

In this final installment of The Pendant Trilogy, Arica learns of dark pasts, unknowable futures, and the truth of the pendant’s origin. Arica doesn’t have much time left—and if she fails, the mortal and the magical worlds are both at stake.

About the Authors

NaunaSarena and Sasha Nanua are teenage twins living in Ontario. They love reading books in their spare time and enjoy science fiction and fantasy novels. They have been writing books since they were nine-years-old. The Gemstone is their first novel. You can find out more about them on their website. Or you can catch up with them on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Gemstone (the first in the Pendant Trilogy) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Indigo.

Don’t be in a rush to self-publish

You’ve dreamed of the day when you can hold in your hands a copy of your own book. You imagine showing it off to friends and family as you proudly declare you ARE an author. But as you are preparing to self-publish your own book, I urge you to make sure you – or more importantly your book – are ready.

There is a lot that goes into self-publishing and marketing your book. But I am not talking about finding your target market or figuring out which method of advertising will reach those readers. No, I am talking about making sure the book you wrote – the one you are about to introduce to all those eager readers – is ready.

And this is not just advice for newbies. This holds true whether you are an author with two to three books or one that has a dozen or more under your belt. Don’t let anyone else tell you how quickly you should be putting out books. Just because one author spits out one every other month, doesn’t mean that you should do the same thing.

So what do I mean by “make sure your book is ready?”

I mean don’t hurry through the editing process. Yes, writing a book is a huge accomplishment. However, that is only the first step. Now comes the hard part – editing. It can take countless hours to weed out inconsistencies, fix timelines, refine word choice, and the list goes on.

The key with editing is that you can’t tackle all the editing issues at once. You need to concentrate on only a few at a time. (I use this revision outline to help me.) There is no magic number on how many times you will re-read your novel trying to improve it. And trust me, it is easy to get stuck on revising your wording.

There are a couple of tips I suggest for all writers.

  • Beta Readers/Editor – Have someone else read your book. A fresh set of eyes can catch inconsistencies and other errors in the plot.
  • Take a break. Don’t work on or read your novel for a period of time. When you come back to it, you will be able to see errors that you couldn’t see when you were slaving away on it daily.
  • Proofreading – You, a friend with knowledge of spelling and grammar, a teacher, run it through every grammar program you can find, or even hire a professional – or do all the above – to correct grammar and spelling. And if you make content changes, it needs to be proofread again. (That is why this is typically the last step before publishing.)

I can’t stress this last one enough. No matter how strong or compelling of a story you have written, there is nothing worse than turning off readers with a bunch of spelling and grammatical errors. And really by rushing to publish a book that isn’t ready, you are creating a negative image of not just you but other indie authors.

So rather than rush and put out a mediocre story. Take your time to rewrite, to edit, to polish and to proof your novel until it IS ready for all those hungry readers out there.

Quote of the Week: August 27

This week my kids went back to school. I typically try to present a quote about school or education for the first week of school. I used this quote in our PTA cookbook last school year. We presented the cookbook to all the hardworking teachers, support staff, custodial staff and cafeteria workers at our wonderful elementary school.

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives~ Robert M. Hutchins

You can’t control others – just your reaction

“He won’t play with me,” my daughter complains.

“Honey, you can’t make him play with you.”

Or another time she will come to me in tears.

“Jase called me a baby. I don’t like him anymore.”

“Now, he shouldn’t have done that,” I say, “but you can’t control what your brother or anyone else does. All you can do is control your own actions.”

Both instances reflect a common theme that I often repeat to the kids. You can’t control others. You can only control your own actions.

This is a hard concept for kids to understand. Heck, it is a difficult concept for adults to understand. People are going to say things and do things that aren’t what you want them to say or do.

You rush to tell someone you are pregnant. Instead of the expected “congratulations,” you hear something like. “Oh really? That’s….nice.” or “Again?”

Yep, that wasn’t what you were expecting. You can either choose to let their reaction affect you (whether it is by making you sad, or you challenging them to explain what they meant) or you can let their reaction roll off your back and continue to be happy about your situation. The choice is totally up to you. But how you react, can define how the conversation or even the relationship develops.

If Jase teases Lexie in order to upset her or make her cry, I often tell Lexie the answer is not to give him the response he is looking for. If she just ignored his taunts, he would stop doing them. Or she could tell him that she doesn’t like how he is behaving and won’t play with him. She has many other choices than crying about something he said.

Figuring out that your own actions entail how the conversation is going to go is a hard concept to learn. But lessons abound all over the place for my kids.

A boy on the playground pushes ahead and grabs the last open swing right before Lexie was going to get on it. A classmate makes fun of the shirt Jase is wearing or the way Lexie’s glasses look. I could go on and on. The lesson isn’t that they can’t control these other people. It is all about how they react in these situations.

Does she pull the boy off the swing? Does she call him a name or go tell the playground monitor? Does she shrug it off and find something else to do? Or perhaps she bursts into tears until he gives her the swing.

Does Lexie cry when the person makes fun of her glasses? Does she insult the classmate in an attempt at retribution? Or does she shrug it off and go on her way because she is comfortable with who she is?

It is about teaching my kids that it is their choice on how they handle the situation because they can’t control how others will behave. I can only hope they choose an appropriate reaction to those behaviors.

Today’s Featured Author: Keith D. Moser

Today I welcome author Keith D. Moser to my blog. Please enjoy the first two chapters of his book – Quest for God’s Own Heart – which was released in June.

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.’”

(Jeremiah 29:11-13)

I am Michael the Archangel. In this book, I would like to share with you, life changing events from the Old Testament. I was there watching God reveal His desire for mankind. He wants you to know how much He loves you.

You may be surprised to see Jesus throughout my story, but He was there, even before the beginning of time. He is the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, revealing God the Father’s heart to us all.

I have heard many claim throughout the centuries that God the Father was the God of Judgment in the Old Testament, and the God of Grace in the New. That is not true. He has always been the God of Grace. From the Garden of Eden to the end of time, His desire has always been to restore the relationship He had with His creation before the Fall.

Follow me as we go on a quest for God’s own heart. If you seek Him with your whole heart, not only will you find Him, but God will also fill you with His loving grace.

Chapter 2

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, The Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.”

(Isaiah 40:28)

While walking through the crowd of angels, I heard murmuring. The angels were restless as they waited in anticipation. They knew that everything would change from this moment on.

The battle with Satan was now over. A third of the angels had been cast out of Heaven, and evil had entered the beautiful universe that God had created.

“Michael, what is God going to do now?” I was asked.

“God told me He was going to finish His masterpiece. He’s going to create mankind in His own image and place them on earth.” I answered.

“When will it happen?”

“That’s why we’re here. God wants us to watch.”

As I walked closer to God’s throne, I found myself lost in my thoughts. What is God going to do? The universe was so beautiful before the war against Satan. Now it lays in darkness as if God didn’t want us to see it anymore. Will it be more beautiful? How could it be more beautiful?

God said He would restore the universe, but He also said the earth would be the center of its beauty. God also said He was going to lift the veil. Soon He’s going to stretch His arms and begin the process of—My thoughts were interrupted as I felt someone grab my shoulder.

“There He is, Michael,” one of the angels shouted.

Looking across the sea of angels, I could see God standing before His throne. All the angels bowed with me as we worshipped His holy name.

“Lift your eyes, My friends, and watch the beauty of My creation,” God spoke softly. With arms stretched out, He declared with a booming voice, “Let there be light.”

A bright light ripped through the darkness that once covered the universe. I was thrown to the ground, overcome by the explosion of light. Gathering myself, I stood up and stared into the vastness of God’s incredible universe.

God smiled, knowing what He had created was good, sat on His throne, and declared, “The light that shines on the earth will be called day and the darkness will be called night.” This was the first day.

I stood there staring in anticipation. I couldn’t wait to see what God was going to do next.

Once again God stood and declared, “Let the earth be covered with water, and above the water let there be sky.” Immediately the vapors that covered the earth blew away. I could see right through the sky. The whole earth was covered with water, and hovering over it was the Holy Spirit.

What a beautiful sight, I thought. The clearness of the sky was captivating. I caught myself with my mouth open. As I looked around, I could see all the angels around me were doing the same.

For the second time, God smiled, knowing what He had created was good, and He sat on His throne. This time He didn’t speak. It was as if He was allowing the beauty of His creation to speak for itself. This was the second day.

One of the angels looked at me and asked, “What is God going to do next?”

I pondered for a moment as I continued looking at how beautiful the earth was. “I don’t know, but I can’t wait.”

Our waiting was over, for God stood and declared, “Land, appear from out of the water. Vegetation and fruit-bearing trees, come out of the ground and produce seeds that will continue replenishing the earth.”

Ripping from out of the water, mountains and valleys appeared, and vegetation and fruit-bearing trees sprang from the earth.

It was incredible. I had never before seen such beauty. I could hear the gasp of the angels around me as they too, were in awe.

For the third time, God smiled, knowing what He had created was good, and He sat on His throne. This was the third day.

We continued staring at God’s beautiful creation when He stood from His throne for the fourth time, declaring, “Stars of the universe shine in the sky. From this moment on you will set in motion days, months, seasons, and years.”

“I don’t understand,” an angel close to me whispered.

“I don’t either,” I said. But God knows what He’s doing.”

God looked at me as He smiled and said, “Michael, the days, months, seasons, and years will be for mankind. The seasons of change on earth will be beautiful. You will see.”

I could see God’s smile fade as He turned from the earth. I could even see tears forming in His eyes.

“What’s wrong, God? Everything You created is so beautiful. Why are tears in Your eyes?”

“Michael, mankind will not always follow Me. They will choose to satisfy their own pleasures and not worship Me.”

“How can that be, God? How could they not worship You?”

God said, “They will choose to follow their own desires and not worship Me, just like Satan and his followers.”

“I don’t understand, God. You said that mankind will be Your masterpiece.”

“You will see, Michael. They will choose not to follow Me, but I have a plan for their redemption. I will spare them from the same punishment that I gave Satan and his followers. I will give them a chance for forgiveness. I will show them mercy if they choose mercy. I will give them a way to be here with Me. They will have a choice.”

For the fourth time, God smiled, knowing what He had created was good, and He sat on His throne. This was the fourth day.

“Wow, God is going to do something special with mankind. They’ll be treated differently than Satan and his followers. God will make a way for them to be in Heaven with us. But how?” As I looked to the throne of God, seated at God’s right hand was Jesus. I could see passion in His eyes.

“Jesus, are You, THE WAY?”

“Yes, I AM, Michael.”

Before I could even begin to understand what Jesus was telling me, God stood from His throne for the fifth time and declared, “Let there be fish and all kinds of sea creatures in the water and birds in the air. Let them reproduce so they may continue to replenish the earth.”

Suddenly I saw all kinds of birds flying over the water and the land. Teams of fish and sea creatures were swimming in the water.

Again, we stood in awe and amazement. I was speechless. God looked at me and smiled. “You have not seen anything yet, Michael. Just wait.”

“I haven’t seen anything yet? How can that be true, God? This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.”

“You will see, Michael. You will see.”

For the fifth time, God smiled, knowing what He had created was good, and He sat on His throne. This was the fifth day.

God stood for the sixth time. He looked to the earth and declared, “From out of the ground, may all the living creatures come out. Let them roam the earth and reproduce so that they may continue to replenish the earth.”

Out of the ground sprang all kinds of living creatures, large and small. I laughed as I caught myself trying to count them all. I looked to God and said, “You’re right, I hadn’t seen anything yet.”

God chuckled. “No, Michael, I have not even started My masterpiece.” He turned to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. “We will make man in Our own Image.”

God looked to the earth and proclaimed. “From out of the ground, man come forth.”

All of Heaven became still. As I leaned forward to get a closer look, I noticed that even the creatures of the land, sea, and air stopped what they were doing. They, too, knew that something special was about to happen.

In the middle of a small garden, God’s greatest masterpiece began to stir from the ground. I could hear the whole universe and all of Heaven gasp in anticipation. Slowly from out of the ground the first man appeared. God knelt down and breathed life into him.

The man stood in the garden and looked up to Heaven. God looked at him and said, “My child, your name is Adam. I am Your God, and you will worship only Me. The first thing I want you to do is name all the creatures of the land and the birds of the air. I will have them all pass by you, and whatever you name them, they will be called.”

Adam sat on a rock in the middle of the garden as all the living creatures of the land and the birds of the air passed by him. As the last ones passed by, Adam stood up. He slowly turned around with a look of confusion. “I have no one to share my life with,” he whispered.

God looked at him and said, “Do not worry, Adam, I will now make you fall asleep and when you have awakened, you will have someone to share your life on earth with.”

From out of Adam, God created woman so he wouldn’t be alone in the garden. When Adam awoke from his sleep, God said, “This is your wife. You will cherish her with your life, and the two of you will be in charge of all of My creation. You will have all the seed-bearing plants and fruit-bearing trees for food.”

I wanted to say something, but I, along with the rest of creation, just stood there awestruck. God turned to me and said, “See? I told you so. Now what do you have to say?”

I stared into God’s eyes. “You were right. I hadn’t seen anything yet.” We both smiled and laughed. I looked down to earth in amazement at the first man and woman.

This time God smiled, knowing what He had created was very good, and He sat on His throne. This was the sixth day.

We celebrated the beauty of God’s creation. We were in awe of everything we had just seen.

That was when God stood for the seventh time. “My creation is now complete. This is a day of rest, for it is a holy day. Mankind will rest from their work on this day and come together to worship Me.”

God looked down and saw His masterpiece, and with a smile, He sat on His throne. We fell to the ground and worshipped Him, crying out, “God is Holy and worthy to be praised.”

I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with man. I can’t wait to see His redemptive plan for them. As I looked up, Jesus looked my way with compassion in His eyes.

Life Application 

I just love the fact that the first way God revealed Himself to us is that of the Creator of the Universe, but what I love most is that He is also actively involved in our lives. God isn’t sitting on His throne waiting for time to run out. He wants to have a personal relationship with us.

Before I gave my life to Jesus, I was unworthy of God’s love. Let’s face it, I still am. I remember while growing up, I understood that there was a God and that He created the universe. I also knew that He sent His son to die for my sins, but I failed to see that He wanted to have a personal relationship with me.

When I finally realized that my life was empty and that I didn’t have any hope for the future, I began reading the book of John. God opened my eyes when I read John 14:1-3.

While speaking to His disciples the night before He had to go on the cross, Jesus told them, “‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.’”

Jesus wants me to be where He is! Wow! The God of the Universe wants me to be with Him for eternity. What also amazed me was that Jesus promised He would prepare a place for me in Heaven.

I gave my life to Jesus that night at the age of twenty-one. My life is no longer empty, for the Creator of the Universe has filled my heart with His love. There is a place in Heaven that Jesus has prepared for me. He’s no longer just the Creator of the Universe to me, for He’s now my Savior.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Do you have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe? He sent His Son to die on the cross for you. Have you given your life to Him? Jesus is waiting to prepare a place for you. Let Him also fill your heart with His love.

Book Description

quest for godIn my novel, Michael the Archangel will take you through life changing events from the Old Testament. Join him as he shares with you the creation story, the Fall, Noah and the flood, Job, Moses, Abraham, David, and many more, as he shares with you God’s love for His creation and how he prepared the world for His redemptive plan.

You may be surprised to see Jesus throughout Michael’s story, but Jesus was there, even before the beginning of time. Evangelicals have taught that Jesus is the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, revealing God the Father’s heart to us all. In the applicable stories, Jesus is there as the Angel of the Lord.

Many have claimed throughout the centuries that God the Father was the God of Judgment in the Old Testament, and the God of Grace in the New. That is not true. He has always been the God of Grace. From the Garden of Eden to the end of time, His desire has always been to restore the relationship He had with His creation before the Fall.

Follow Michael as he takes you on a quest for God’s own heart. If you seek Him with your whole heart, not only will you find Him, but God will also fill you with His loving grace.

Second book in series with be on the Life of Christ, and the third book will be on the Early Church, with the last chapter on Jesus calling His people home.

This novel will help readers understand God’s love for His creation. Too many churches, today teach the Dos and Don’ts of Christianity, trapping their congregation in the never ending cycle of guilt and confusion when they fail. God’s message from the Fall to the end of time is His desire to reconcile his creation with Himself, through His redemptive plan for mankind.

Author Bio

My name is Keith D. Moser (medically retired from the Army). I am married to my wife, Jerri, and have seven children; Katie, Kara, Kristen, Joshua, Kimberly, Matthew, and Caleb. I pastored two churches before joining the Army, where I was a Chaplain Assistant and a Combat Medic. I am currently a senior at Liberty University Online (Christian Counseling Degree), where I am on the Dean’s list, and a member of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society.

You can purchase Quest for God’s Own Heart on Amazon or Smashwords. It is also available from his website.