Confessions of a Thankful Internet Geek

by Laura A. Grace

My Papa’s legacy lives on.

Granted, I don’t recall ever seeing him pick up a book (well, unless maybe it was a train book with lots of pictures) except his Bible when he got older.

Yet his extrovert self still inspires my introvert self to actively get to know other people online, especially authors and writers.

He and my Grandma would share stories of how he met so-and-so online and then, when on a cruise, go and meet that same person. More than once did they tell me how they got “exclusive tours” because of an online friend my Papa knew.

Reflecting on those stories, I am mind blown at how he used the internet to make new friendships that extend over the ocean (and he didn’t even have social media to do it!).

It’s even more exciting to know that I’m following in his footsteps.

Just as it was for him, the internet has opened new gateways that the seventh grade me never would have imagined as I began devouring Nancy Drew mysteries. I thought the most I would ever be able to do was read and tell friends (which I still do). However, someone introduced me to the idea of meeting and interacting with authors online and transformed my life as an avid reader.

Now my inner fangirl does a lot more of this:


And quite a bit of this:


Now I could easily be doing this outside of social media (which I still do at some point while reading, and on multiple occasions if I might add), but now I am able to use book blogging to really get to know authors. I can reach out via Facebook messenger or email and ask if they would be interested in an interview or guest post. Then somehow as we’re chatting, the conversation keeps going and this amazing thing sometimes happens … (insert big breath) I get to know and call them friend. Talk about a dream come true! I have to try and remember daily that these authors genuinely call me friend and not let my inner fangirl explode with squeals and giddiness in every conversation (but don’t worry, when they release a new novel, they get a big dose of that).


Recently my close writing mentor just released her short story on Amazon, and it is surreal to think how I can help get her book out there through blogging. I can show and talk about my friend’s story in a way that wasn’t possible when I first started reading in middle school (well, at least I thought wasn’t possible). I can make memes, do an interview, and make a fan-made book trailer to name a few fun ones.

Now I have to admit, it’s one thing to share the latest book trailer I made, but it’s whole other thing when I’m asked if I would be interested is hosting a blog tour under God’s Grace Blog Tours. By this point, I’m pretty sure my inner fangirl cannot help but faint from joy and excitement (whether I know the author or not). Not only am I able to gush all the amazingness of their story, but I get to do it with different bloggers all over the United States (sometimes even from all over the world).

Enter me stalking these bloggers’ sites for their posts of reviews, guest posts, or some other feature in the name of sharing the book love, and I feel my mission is partially complete.


What is my mission as an avid reader, book blogger, and blog tour host?

Support the author, read the book, and share the book love (no matter what order I do these).

Usually the final and even more fun part of my mission includes participating in one of the coolest virtual book events I know on the internet: Facebook parties.

Oh my goodness! What an epic way to chat with other readers and favorite authors. Enter lots of fun chat and games with giveaways, and you have this mega fangirl party with lots of squealing and laughter off screen (at least for this inner fangirl).


Yes, I can definitely say that I’m thankful my Papa showed me how wonderful of an adventure it can be when getting to know people online. A few years ago I would have been a nervous wreck even thinking about remotely wanting to reach out to people I don’t know (even at Facebook parties).

Not so much anymore. And as a result, my Papa’s legacy lives on.

Just with a lot more sequels of excitement and dancing over new book releases.

(Before I go, can I take a moment to share how I feel being featured on Ralene’s blog today? Yeah, I also might have been feeling this as I was reading her novel, Bellanok. Thank you, Ralene!) From Ralene: Aw, thanks, Laura. You know how to make a gal feel special.




About Me:

Laura A. Grace loves to read with a passion. Her personal goal: to read all the books as well as write a few of her own (maybe even a hundred!). She’s a firm believer in spreading hope, and book blogging makes a perfect outlet. More than once her husband has caught her staying up late to support and get to know Christian indie authors online. You can find her in her North Carolina home, attempting to capture her characters and force them onto paper—or trying to read just one more chapter before going to sleep.

HOPE through the Pages (website):

I wrote an e-book, One Bookish Friend Challenge, sharing how I gave myself personal challenges to get to know other people online. I made it a freebie to those who sign up for my newsletter. You don’t have to share, but I thought I would mention it.

Here is the newsletter signup link and I’ll attach the cover in case you decide to share (again, if not, that’s totally okay):

Also, was unsure if I should mention, but if someone was interested in learning more about God’s Grace Blog Tours, here is the link:

Bellanok is Available in Paperback!


I’m so excited to announce that Bellanok is officially available in physical book form. Yes! One for your bookshelf! One for your local library! One for your fellow fantasy lovers for Christmas!

This has been a long-time coming. And I am ever so thankful for all the love and support from family, friends, and fans. But most of all for God giving me this gift, this passion. This is truly a dream come true!

Before you hop over and purchase several copies for you and everyone you know, check out this fun book trailer from Amaeris Designs Productions.

Need an escape this weekend? Ready for a fantasy adventure? You can see a full description of Bellanok, as well as blog tour information, in My Books. But you know you just want to hop over and buy now! (Available for Kindle AND in paperback.)





If you’d like to follow along as I work on releasing another 3 books (also fantasy) through Elk Lake Publishing over the next couple of years, be sure to sign up for my newsletter!

And if you want to join in launch time fun and get to know a few other ladies of spec, as well as other spec readers, check out the Ladies of Spec Readers Group!

Novel News: May 2016

Welcome to my new end-of-the-month posts! In Novel News, I’ll be sharing new releases, quotes from books, author highlights, and whatever else my book nerd heart desires.

Sounds fun, right? Don’t miss any of the news, sign up for my newsletter!

New Releases


Bellanok: The Dragon’s Oath

The first book that came out is . . . MINE! Ha! You knew I had to share that, right? The 3rd part in my novella serial came out earlier this month. As Brian prepares for his new role as the Creator’s chosen paladin, Fauna struggles with her inability to communicate with the Creator anymore. An unexpected turn of events will rock the faith they’ve worked hard to build. Will they be able to rise above their struggles? Find out in Bellanok: The Dragon’s Oath.



Also out this month . . .

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Darkened Hope by J.L. Mbewe

This is the second book in the The Hidden Dagger trilogy. (Secrets Kept is the first.) The author is a good friend of mine, and I’ve had the honor of helping her proofread her books. Darkened Hope is even better than the first book, full of interesting cultures, unexpected twists, and well-rounded characters. I definitely recommend reading Darkened Hope this summer.





Rebirth by Amy Brock McNew

This debut release by Amy is one of the best stories I’ve read in 2016. The emotional depth and realism in this story kept me up late at night. The kickbutt heroine and battles with demons didn’t hurt either. Amy often talks about “guts on the page” in her Facebook and blog posts, and you can tell her guts are on the page in this story. Definitely add this one to your list!





Progeny by Tosca Lee

I just started reading this story. It’s in first person, present tense, which I don’t usually enjoy, but Tosca just sucked me in. She doesn’t drop much backstory in the first few chapters, so you feel like you’re right there with the main character (who doesn’t remember who she was), and it opens so many natural questions. Yay!






The Beautiful Pretender (A Medieval Fairy Tale) by Melanie Dickerson

For the fairy tale lover in all of us! I haven’t started this book, but I’ve enjoyed other novels by Melanie Dickerson. I look forward to trying this one out. (I just love her covers though!)



Writing Update

Bellanok 4 is well underway. I was hoping to release it the first week of June, but it looks like I might have to push it to the second week. The tentative release date is June 10. Are you ready for the epic ending to our urban fantasy tale?

In Other News . . . 

Huge Giveaway of several different books from Amaze-ing Hats!

I’m reading an ARC for another fabulous book to read this summer, the 3rd in a trilogy. I’ll be sharing more in June.


I found this meme while I was reading Rebirth (above), and it fit so perfectly with the story as well as with some things I’ve been going through. What do you think?





Book Tour: RUN by Glenn Haggerty

One of my clients, Taegais Publishing, just released another book last week. I’m really excited for this MG adventure novel by Glenn Haggerty. I’m even more excited to have him on my blog today! Stay tuned after the interview for more information on Run.

11120914_2056760277796270_878304415549739269_oWhat inspires you when you write?

Several things: Reading books that I really like by other authors—Andrew Klavan has had a big impact on me—but there are so many great books out there, I’d leave too many out if I started listing them! Exercise. I often get some great ideas and insights as a ride my stationary bike. A quiet comfortable place. No phone and no to do lists. And prayer. Definitely.

What is your current work in progress?

Working title, Hyde. This is a fun adventure set in Boca Raton Florida which is by the way my first non fictitious setting. I’ve researched the Spanish Gold Fleet of 1715 that was destroyed by a hurricane leaving the wrecks of 12 ships scattered from the Florida Keys to the Sebastian Inlet on Florida’s east coast. Two of the ships are unaccounted for . . . So we have modern day pirates, a couple of nosey oceanographers, and of course some fun loving teens who are yet again in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Tell us about RUN.

Run is the story of a thirteen-year-old boy from a Christian home trying to find his way. Wanting to hang with the cool crowd caused Tyler to make some bad choices that mushroomed into a huge mess. A family relocation gave him the opportunity to start over, but he’s not a fast learner . . . Everything seems stacked against him, including a nasty run-in with some very bad men. But Tyler still wants to do things his way. Slowly he begins to trust in God again, and things begin to change. And it’s a good thing, because he’ll need God to make it through what lies ahead.

How’d you get your idea for Run? 

Abandoned houses in the woods have always fascinated me. Such mystery! My imagination just runs wild, especially when I remember those times I was brave enough to poke around in the ruins. This was the germ for the story.

So Run’s target audience is mainly boys age 10 to 14?

Yes and no. It’s true that the protagonist and most of the secondary characters are boys, but I’ve received a number of rave reactions from tween and teen girls as well. In book two of the series, one of the girls from Run, Audrey, is a main character. And both women and men enjoy RUN, it brings a certain nostalgia I think.


For fear of reprisals, kids are often reluctant to tell parents about bullying. When should parents suspect their children are being bullied?

  1. Emotional, depression, withdrawal,
  2. reluctance to go to school or other social venues
  3. marks of physical violence

How can parents coax their children into discussing possible bullying?

Tap into your own experiences with bullying, or that of “a friend” (hypothetical or real). Paint a picture of what it was like and how it was resolved. Then ask if your child has ever experienced anything similar.

My protagonist’s dad wheedle the truth from Tyler when he caught him practicing martial arts. He then gave some good and godly advice that helped the protagonist work his way through. The results were still less than ideal.

What are the most important things for kids to realize when faced with bullies?

First, they don’t deserve it and it’s not ever right. Second, their parents and most adults (school authorities) are on their side. Parents will do whatever it takes to help children work through it. School teachers and officials want to eliminate bullying.


How can kids find healthy friendships?

Kessler used to say “if you want a friend, be a friend.”

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” (Philip 2:3 NLT).

This is the “lesson” Tyler learns throughout the book—his character arc.

 How can parents help their kids find healthy friendships?*

Connect to good church youth and children’s groups. If they don’t have one at your church, find one that does. Get involved with the programs. Create opportunities for your children to meet people of like mind and interests. Other ideas are, Home School groups, athletic, music, drama, and other social organizations for kids.

Tyler’s parents immediately connected to a local church with an active youth group.

 What specific things can kids, or parents for that matter, do to help newbies feel welcome?

print front cover smallWhen you see someone you don’t know and alone, walk up to them and introduce yourself! It sounds simple. But yeah. Ask them questions about themselves, like “How long have you been coming here?” That way if they’ve been coming a long time it still wouldn’t be awkward. Then “How do you like it?” etc.

Second, include him or her with your friends. Invite him or her to sit with you. Etc.

Thanks for hanging with us today, Glenn! I look forward to reading the book, as I’m sure ALL my kids will too.

If you’d like to purchase Run by Glenn Haggerty, visit Amazon.

You can visit Glenn on his website or Facebook!



Cover Reveal: RUN by Glenn Haggerty

I love a good cover reveal, don’t you?

This fall, I’m excited to be working with Taegais Publishing again to launch a new book–the first in a trilogy. You may remember that I helped them last year with the launch of Mortis by Hannah Cobb (excellent YA fantasy).

Now, we’re getting ready to release Run by Glenn Haggerty, an upper MG adventure novel. Here’s a blurb for ya . . .


At thirteen, a boy can run from lots of things, but he can’t always hide . . .

Awkward newbie, Tyler Higgins, has to navigate the middle school friendship jungle. But how can he focus on friends when a mysterious plumber casing the neighborhood threatens his life?

While chasing the cool kids through the woods, he tumbles into a ruined house where a shadowy creeper emerges from the basement. Tyler escapes, but for how long? The gigantic ninja-like goon sniffs him out and threatens to carve him up—along with his family.

Tyler finally connects with a rich kid, but a showdown brews. The plumber has a secret and lots of stolen cash—and Tyler’s friend is locked in on the plumber’s hideout. Now Tyler must risk his life or lose his new friend—permanently.


Sounds pretty interesting, doesn’t it? I’d like to read it myself. It’s a good thing I have some kids in the MG age group! So, how about that cover now . . .

print front cover small

By the way, if you don’t know much about Glenn Haggerty, then you don’t know that he founded a website called Christian Books for Tweens and Teens, which provides reviews on clean reads for tween and teens. There’s also a Facebook page to visit and chat. I highly recommend you check out both.

And stay tuned, Run will be released the beginning of October 6th!