Monday, November 23, 2015

Grace Triumphant and an Interview with the Author

Hey, all! Today is special because...

Grace Triumphant: A Tale of the Slave Trade has released!!! This is the seventh book written by Alicia Willis, who I have been privileged to be internet-friends with over the last year and a half or so. I have read all (yep...all) six of her already-published novels. My favorite? Rising to the Challenge: A Tale of Perseverance and Unconditional Love (which I got to beta-read for last winter - that was sure a cool experience!).

It also happens to be Alicia's 24th birthday today, so happy birthday!

And I'm going to soon be reading Grace Triumphant... (I'm looking forward to that! It sounds like an interesting, faith-based tale.)

Without further ado, here's the books synopsis, an interview with Alicia, and links to where you can find her new book (and the author herself).


Profligate London, 1788. Slave ships haunt the seas, bearing human cargos to further the wealth of the rich and destroy the souls of the slave traffickers.

Russell Lawrence is an avid skeptic. Captain of the slave ship Barbados, wealthy, and a respected leader, he views religion as a crutch for the weak. But when the debauchery of the slave trade begins to destroy his good morals, his battle becomes more than fighting pirates and mutineers. What if there really is a God?

Impressed as a cabin boy, Jack Dunbar sees his forced service on the Barbados as a God-given opportunity to witness Christ to the crew. But his efforts to influence the hardened slavers seems to be doing little good. How is it possible to live as a Christian on the sin-ravaged seas? Can his light shine bright in Africa's dark interior?

Back in Grosvenor Square, Elizabeth Grey battles opposition from society and her self-seeking fiancé. Her work with John Newton to end the slave trade is being harshly attacked. She faces life branded as a jilter and radical if she stands up for what she believes in. Will she ever glean the strength to call sin by its rightful name?

A tale of adventure on the high seas, redemption, and faith. Sin abounds. Is grace enough to conquer doubt and triumph over evil?

(Doesn't this sound good?)


Book trailer:

Interview time!

MK: Hi, Alicia! Welcome to Adventures Beyond the Horizon. Congratulations on your book's release! Could you start by telling a little bit about yourself?  

Alicia: Thank you for having me! I am a 24 year-old Independent Baptist, engaged to the most wonderful man in the world. When I am not writing or doing research, I enjoy being the church pianist, a Sunday School teacher, music teacher, and coffee connoisseur. My fiance and I are to be married, Lord willing, on February 13 of 2016. We are called to full-time ministry as missionaries with an emphasis on the deaf.

MK: What inspired Grace Triumphant?

Alicia: The story of Amazing Grace, John Newton, and William Wilberforce were my sources of inspiration. 

MK: Were there any ways in which you were encouraged or challenged in your faith-walk while writing this?

Alicia: One cannot write a story about the slave trade and God's amazing grace without being entirely blown away by our awesome God!

MK: What is one thing you're hoping readers will take away from this book?

Alicia: I hope readers will understand God's amazing grace, forgiveness, and love. I also hope to clear up the misconceptions about the slave trade and understand the racism on both sides. 

MK: What does your writing process look like - do you outline and write everything down, or are you more of a mental planner? (I tend to fall into the latter category...but then again, I outline in my head.) ;)

Alicia: I am a panster. Towards the end of the book, I outlined a little bit, just to bring the loose ends together. However, I am a strong believer in allowing the characters to tell their own story. 

MK: Do you have a favorite book/author?

Alicia: Modern or classic? Oh, Florence Kingsley is my favorite classical author. And I love Erynn Mangum, Sarah Varland, Anne Mateer, and John J. Horn.

MK: Yes, John J. Horn is really an amazing author - I agree with you there!
Okay, Alicia, we must know... Do you have a favorite character from Grace Triumphant? Whose story did you enjoy writing the most? (Or can you just not pick?)

Alicia: That is hard! I had a difficult time "feeling" Jack at first, but, as he matured, he really grew on me. I loved Russell from the start and could totally understand him, which is funny, seeing as he is a skeptic! And my heart went out to Elizabeth the entire time. So, I cannot really pick a favorite!

MK: What is your favorite time period - to write or to read about? (I kinda fell in love with the Victorian era when I read Martha Finley's updated A Life of Faith series...and I still love it!) 

Alicia: The Middle Ages would be number one. But ancient Rome is a favorite too! I mostly enjoy writing about those eras, but have found a few books centered around those times that I have enjoyed reading too! 

MK: And, lastly, what inspires you to write - and keep writing? 

Alicia: I love history. And I want to bring glory to God! Weaving God-centered tales around fascinating historical eras always inspires me! 

MK: Thank you so much for stopping by, Alicia! 

Find Alicia on...

Her blog 
Her website
And her Google+ account

Buy the book (get it signed! That's always a plus!), read it, and enjoy it! I will hopefully (maybe) be posting a review of it once I get my signed copy - and the specially included tea! 

Until next time...


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Winter Jam Tour Spectacular

WINTER JAM. In two words: incredibly fun. I mean, seriously...if you EVER get a chance to go, then go. And be sure to get in on Jam Nation.

Winter Jam 2015 was amazing. So cool. A lot cooler than Winter Jam 2014. Partially because....we got Jam Nation passes. So we got in an hour and a half early and got really great aisle seats on the floor. (And, as you'll see later on in this post, it was a great idea to take the aisle seats.)

Our city, Spokane, was the last stop on the Winter Jam tour of this year, and it's getting close to Christmas, so two of the artists played special Christmas songs for us.

Anyways. Story is:

Sunday, November 15th at 3:15pm we headed to the Arena from my big bro's house (it's about five minutes away). Jam Nation entrance begins at 3:30 and ends at 4:30, so we were just getting there a little early. ;) We arrived, payed for parking, and, confused, sought the special entrance we knew was there for Jam Nation members. We joined a mom and her son (who was 6"3 he said, so he was officially and exactly one foot taller than me) who were also part of Jam Nation and didn't know where to go. But we got directions, and were soon in line. Then through the doors.

We grabbed aisle seats on the floor level, and then Mom and I headed back to the main entrance/outer area to buy a few CDs. (At the end o' the night we ended up with four new CDs - two from Newsong, and then the self-titled albums from Stars Go Dim, who are really good and whose lead singer's voice actually reminds me of the lead singer's voice of Royal Tailor, and We Are Messengers, who are also good.) Once back in our seats, we waited patiently and got to enjoy a short Question and Answer session with none other than Jamie Grace (she's cool, by the way), Lincoln Brewster, and Darrin Mulligan, the Irish lead singer of We Are Messengers. And during the Q&A, guess who sat in nearly the back of the section that we were in? Zach Oswald from OBB! I was just really...shocked...I guess you could say, to see him. Just because I've seen in YouTube videos and stuff, but then he was there. In person. Sitting somewhere behind us. And I kinda like OBB. SO, yeah, that happened.

(OBB is a band with three brothers: Zach (lead singer), Jacob (guitar), and Nich (drums).)

Then the pre-show bands started playing. They included: Stars Go Dim, We Are Messengers, and OBB. And, during OBB's fun performance, the drummer, Nich, ran through the aisles to get to a little circular stage they had in the middle of the floor area. He was high-fiving people as he ran by, and I got high-fived! :) He kinda high-fived hard, but whatever. It was cool. ;)

Here's a picture of OBB:

From left to right it's Jacob, Zach, and then Nich. Now ya know who high-fived me. ;)

(You can check out their YouTube channel here.)

The rest of the show included lots of yelling/singing, hand-clapping, arm-raising, and music. ;) Love and the Outcome started off the official show for us. I can't remember the correct order of everybody, but I know that the last three artists to perform went in this order: for KING & COUNTRY (they were great. I almost got high-fived by Joel.), Jamie Grace, and then Skillet. Skillet did some cool stuff with fire and raised platforms. (The dummer was raised on a platform, and the platform was also spinning, and she was drumming at the same time.) And John Cooper, the lead singer, did a bit of talking, and he even attempted Flynn Rider's smolder...though, he didn't really succeed. ;) He seemed like a really, very cool person.

Sadie Robertson was there too! It was neat to see her in person! :) She talked a little bit about having confidence in God and putting your happiness in Him, instead of your boyfriend or maybe your popularity at school, etc. Something funny she had said started with talking about the angels who circle God's throne and say 'Holy, holy, holy!' She said, "When you put your boyfriend in the middle (on the throne), you start to realize he's not 'holy, holy, holy' and you ain't happy, happy, happy!" I laughed at that. ;) Quoting Phil! :)

And I saw Moriah Peters up on stage once when they had people come up (other artists) to do a little 'dance party' for less than a minute. She's Joel Smallbone's (for KING & COUNTRY's lead singer) wife. She's also an artist herself.

Overall, being in Jam Nation at Winter Jam was great. And Winter Jam was amazing. Totally going year. With passes. There's no going back from passes. ;)

All the bands that were there:

Stars Go Dim
We Are Messengers
Love and the Outcome
Family Force 5
Jamie Grace
Lincoln Brewster

Here's a link to Winter Jam's website. They've already announced cities and dates for the east coast, so if you're over there, just go. It's an amazing and unforgettable experience! Oh, and Sidewalk Prophets is joining them - and their new CD is really good. Seriously good!

(There are loud noises, though. Skillet stopped once in the middle of a song. No lights, no music. Then a huge bang resounded throughout the arena and they started the song up again! Craziness. But good craziness.)

That is all.

Until next time... (which will most likely be *sneak-peek alert* a special release-day post for Grace Triumphant: A Tale of the Slave Trade and hopefully an interview with the authoress, Alicia A. Willis, on November 23rd.)


P.S. Barnes and Noble is sending me just too many coupons. I can't keep up! ;) But they're great. The membership is SO worth the $25 a year they make you pay. I could spend that much on shipping alone! And then they send you coupons... And, besides, B&N is lots of fun to go to just to sit in the cafe and read. While drinking coffee. And perhaps eating a very, very, very crumbly blueberry muffin that is super airy and doesn't really hold it's shape after you've taken the first chunk out of it with your fork.

Adventurers, this is me. ;)