Saturday, April 23, 2022

Kindle Vella: FAQ and recommendations

I really enjoy amazon's new serial platform, kindle vella, both as a reader and as a writer. I wrote an FAQ about how to use it as a reader. I've already written two posts recommending some kindle vella stories I've enjoyed, but of course I've sampled and enjoyed many more since then. 

Kindle vella is a new and growing program, and it can use all the support it can get. If you try it out and enjoy it, consider letting your friends and social media connections know! Let me know what you think in the comments.

Now for this month's recommendations. Here are the top 10 this month that caught my attention:

The Spectra Crown Tales: This one is mine, a YA fantasy/fairytale retelling. Season 1, which is complete, is inspired by Beauty and the Beast and the American Revolutionary War. Season 2 switches to a different character's story and is inspired by Sleeping Beauty. More information about the series on my website.

Spectra Quest: Choose Your Clan: Another of mine, this story is part personality quiz, part choose-your-ending. Your fellow prisoner can help you gain elemental abilities if you help her escape. Your choices at the end of each episode determine which Spectra abilities you get.

The Queen Trials by Penelope Wright just entered its second season. I recommend this one every time, but that's because I'm religiously following every post. There's a short episode almost every day. It feels like a cross between Hunger Games and the Selection, with its own tone.

A Game of Leviathan by N.Y. Seely has a medieval fantasy feel about princes in competition for their uncle's throne. The main character has a disability so is trying to get ahead through a chess-like game.

A Secret Stained in Blue by Kara Jaynes is an interesting romantic fantasy about a rejected girl and a fae.

Courting Fae Thieves and Crowns by Joanna Reeder has another fantasy competition to marry a prince (I seem to read a lot of these), but the main character here is a thief who's supposed to be spying on the prince for the king.

Break Every Chain by Aella Black is a contemporary romance about two teens who live in the same town and yet very different worlds.

The Experiment by Valerie Claussen has a young woman enter a "social experiment" that feels something like a game show, for a quarter million dollars. 

Reigning Embers by C.L. Silas is about a fiery young woman gladiator who refuses to play by the rules, an awesome dragon she secretly bonds with, and a young lord willing to stand up to his society. What's not to love? Did I mention that this is another "competition to marry the man"? I don't seek them out, but these apparently catch my attention.

Unity: On the Edge of Darkness by Victoria Wright: Let's switch up genres and bring out some sci-fi! We have an ambitious woman commander making first contact on an alien planet, but her new friend may change her plans.

Okay, I said ten, but I want to do another in a genre I don't cover as often, so here's a bonus:

Desperate Passions by Sheila Sellinge is a Western romance between a young schoolteacher and a would-be bank robber.

One of the best parts of kindle vella is that you can sample the first three chapters completely free, and that still helps and supports the authors. So try them out, and see if you find a new favorite!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022



is part of life. 

Not an opposite, 

Death is the unpopular little sister. 


I, when a child, 

 had a pet cemetery under an apple tree 

where I buried every hamster and bunny and baby chick, 

where at first I mourned, and then listened to the wind and the birds, 

experienced the life-filled world anew— 

not forgetting, but becoming more alive. 


We are told to be soft-hearted. 

To be vulnerable is to allow pain, 

to allow space for others with holes in their hearts, 

no matter how tempting to close, 

safe but empty. 


Loss, and pain, and grief, 

are vital, even Holy, 

binding every man, every person, every creature together, 

if we are soft, 

if we are open. 

Share, embrace, give, listen, love, 

to each other, to the lost, to yourself, to our Family. 

Faith is the certainty that I do not have the answers, 

but that my Father has the answers, 

and they are the best possible answers. 

I am here, friend. 

I am open. 

I am trying. 

We are whole in our brokenness, 

and we are together. 

Note: This poem goes with a previous poem, Grief. I wrote that one after losing my son. I wrote this one after my child lost a beloved pet, and the emotion is second-hand, but amplified as I worry for her.


The Spectra World master maps!

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