Light in the Darkness

I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve had a heck of a tough year. Nothing super serious, in the scheme of things. Just a lot of sadness piling up, as I lost good friends (too many!), a favorite cat, dealt with illness and emergencies and some other smaller problems. Enough that I feel a bit worn out.

Thank heavens for good books. Those of you who followed my recommended reading list know that I spent a lot of time this year reading books that are pure escapism, many with guaranteed happy endings. My go-to for escapism is either romance or young adult fiction. Not all YA has a guaranteed happy ending, but enough of it does that I feel safe reading the books. (Unlike mystery, in which bad things happen to good people. In a mystery I read just recently, the love interest was brutally murdered midway through the book. Surprise, yes. Welcome surprise, yes, kinda. But I felt a bit battered. He was a great character.)

I know many of you have challenges as well. 2017 has shown its teeth these last few months. I figure you need some escapism too, and at a great price.

WMG Publishing’s Allyson Longueira has put together this Storybundle of YA books. You can get all 11 books for as little as $15. You’ll save at least $60, if not more. (I haven’t bothered with the math.) The centerpiece here is Fiction River: Sparks, edited by Rebecca Moesta. I love this volume. I remember when Rebecca put it together. She insisted on something good, something uplifting, in every single story. The story could start dark, but it had to end in an upbeat way. It needed hope.

The rest of the bundle contains hope as well. Dean contributed The Life and Times of Buffalo Jimmy. This book shows his deep love and respect for the West. He wrote a historical western, featuring young men who find themselves crossing the continent alone. I read all of Dean’s work first, and this is one of my very favorites.

Dave Hendrickson’s Offside received tons of accolades and has been taught in a high school. Dave, who has an impressive sports journalism resume, wrote a historical novel about racism and football in 1967. Dave doesn’t flinch from the dark history, but he does show us light in the darkness.

I haven’t read all of the books in the bundle. One of the perks of bundling is that we get copies as well. So I’ll be reading the two books from the two authors whose work is new to me—John Biggs and Melissa McShane. I have read and loved work from every other author in this bundle. Deb Logan, Anthea Sharp, Thomas K. Carpenter, Darcy Pattison, and Jody Lynn Nye have all written stories (or novels) that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Jody’s short story collection is brand new, and I suspect I’ll open that one even before the Biggs and McShane.

I contributed the first book in my Interim Fates series. I write goofy paranormal fantasy romance as Kristine Grayson—or I did, until the Interim Fates jumped out and grabbed my imagination. They started as a joke in one of my Grayson romance novels. Their father, Zeus, got made at the real Fates, fired them, and installed his teenage daughters in their place. Those poor girls were way over their heads, and ended up gaining my sympathy. And when all was said and done, the girls opted to go live with their mothers. Their human mothers. No magic until they’re fully adult.

Which is like a backwards fantasy novel. I removed the magic from my magical characters and are sending them to a strange and wonderful place—the real world. Tiffany Tumbles starts the series. This series was so much fun to write. The books just hummed along. If only all books came together that smoothly…

As some of you know, the other neat thing about Storybundle is that you have the option to give to a charity when you buy your books. Allyson chose one of her very favorite charities for this bundle—SMART. SMART, which stands for Start Making A Reader Today, helps bridge the learning gap for kids. The charity doesn’t just help them read; it works to hook them on reading. To find out more about this amazing organization, click this link.

You don’t have to get all 11 books in this bundle to participate. You can get five books for five dollars. And one of those books is Fiction River: Sparks, guaranteed to lift your mood.

So please, click this link and head over to Storybundle today. You’ll find a lot to entertain you, and maybe you’ll encourage a kid to read in the process. Win, win, in my book.

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