A lot of wonderful things are happening right now.
First, I have revamped the website. Many of the former pages are now gone and some have been replaced by other pages. I will also be adding a virtual tour, at some point, of some of the locations you visited in "The Academy." There are more upgrades coming, so please be patient as I work to make the site look much better.
"The Academy" is also now available on Amazon! The eBook is free from March 20-24. Once the promotion has ended, the book will return to the normal $2.99 price. The paperback version is also available. Head over to the Marketplace page to pick up your copy today. Don't forget to leave a review!
I'm currently working on book two in the series, so keep an eye out for updates on your favorite group of monster hunters!
"The Academy" is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com.
Release date: March 4, 2017
Kaylee McCleen has wanted to become a Night Hawk agent her entire life. Now, at the age of 13, she has been given that opportunity. First, she has to pass through a three-month training academy, where she must learn to hunt, fight, trap and kill the monsters plaguing the human world.
But after arriving at the Night Hawk Academy for Monster Hunters, Kaylee learns about disappearances in her small town that seem out of the ordinary, but the organization president refuses to believe the monsters can be responsible. The disappearances are making her question everything she's always known about the organization, especially after the disappearances and attacks move closer to home.
As she begins to learn the true dangers of being a monster hunter, she realizes that even the safest areas can not protect her and her friends from becoming a target.
Can Kaylee survive the Academy? And, if she does, what other dangers may be lurking outside those walls?
“You don’t seem to understand, President Freemont, that we have people to look after out there, too. There are almost two thousand residents in this city that require protection. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but they’re still important.”
“I understand that, Matthew. But, what you don’t seem to understand is that we’re also in the middle of an academy here and we have students to protect. It’s hard enough when we have something serious happen. We can’t be sending out people on missions that may not even be a mission at all. Besides, how often do those monsters attack your precious little town? Isn’t that why we chose to build the headquarters here? It’s safe.”
Kaylee and Sarah looked to one another. It was true the city was safer than most, as the monsters usually didn’t bother with places so small. That was why the headquarters were built in that location all those years ago.
“I know that.” Matt sighed, trying to stay calm. “Look, we need some help. He was last seen a few nights ago near the old factory on Ridgeway. He had no reason to be up there, especially at ten o’clock at night.”
“That factory you’re tearing down in a few months?” Matt nodded. “Have you checked inside the building?”
“No, we thought that would be the only place he wouldn’t be.” Kaylee could see the anger flash across Matt’s already hard face. He pinched his nose together. His silky, blue eyes narrowed. She watched with fear that he may draw back and hit the president. Instead, he took in a long, deep breath and slowly let it out before removing his fingers from his nose. “Of course we checked the building. That was the first thing we did. Wouldn’t look too good if we razed a building with a councilman inside, would it?”
“No, probably not.” Harrison raised his hands, his head shaking vigorously. “As of right now, though, there is nothing I can do. My hands are tied. I have children to think about. Call the local authorities and ask them for help. If nothing can be found by the end of the month, then we’ll send out a mission team to do some digging.”
Matthew sighed again and stepped away from Harrison. “Fine, but I hope, for your sake, that the councilman is found safe. And, that delaying a mission team by the month won’t hurt his chances of being found alive. You’d do well to remember that my city helps fund your organization.”
“Yes, and you would do well to remember that we help keep it safe for you, Matthew. Do not test me. I promise you won’t like the results.”
The president walked away, his shoulder smacking against Matt’s as he left. He rounded the wall and stopped just long enough to look into Kaylee’s eyes before moving on. It took Matt a second to gain his composure before following the president.
He, too, stopped and looked at the group.
“Nice to see you all,” he said, his voice wavering. “How’s it going?”
“Uh, good,” Kaylee said. “Nice to see you, too, mayor.”
“You can call me Matt.”
“Okay, Matt,” Sarah said, her voice cracking with nervousness.
“Well, have a good day, children.” He nodded his head and hurried off through the hallway.
As he walked away, Kaylee stared after him.
“I could watch that man walk away every day,” Aileen said. Her head had appeared over Kaylee's shoulders. She pushed Aileen off her and rolled her eyes.
“Aileen!” Mitch hissed. Kaylee and Sarah snorted with laughter.
“What?” she asked.
“Nothing,” he said. "Can we just go, please?"
"Sure," Kaylee said, still laughing.
As promised, here is a snippet from the first chapter on my WIP, "Fire: A Banport novel". This is a rough draft that will go through editing (once again).
Leave your thoughts below!
Anger bubbles inside me as I reread the words for the fourth time. The letter arrived nearly a week ago, shoved inside a golden envelope, sealed with a red letter “L” to make sure it was not compromised before reaching me.
With each time the words enter my mind, they infuriate me even more. Without asking what would be best, the royal family had chosen, yet again, that I would be moved around as pawn on their chessboard. At least this time I would be moved into a warm and semi-comforting home, instead of a dreary, Goddess-forsaken orphanage that smelled of urine and illness as they had done so at the time of my birth.
According to the stories I'm often told, when I was born, alongside my twin sister, Kylie, an armed guard ripped me from my mother's arms and handed me off to a nurse from the slums. She carried my screaming pink, shriveled body away from the castle in the dead of night and passed me off to the Mother Elena of the Banport orphanage, where unwanted children are raised.
I should be angry. No, I am angry. But, I also understand. It's the law. Parents are not allowed to raise twins, as it could cause complications with inheritances. Or, in my case, the line of succession, as Kylie was technically the first born to the family. There was always a chance I could challenge her for her place as queen when it came time.
Sometimes, it crosses my mind that they wanted me to know the story because they wanted to remind me how much better my life could have been, had I been the first one pushed into the world. That I could have been the future queen. But, now I see they were planning all along to use me as a backup for Kylie, in case she failed to live up to her potential...or she died.
It's hard to feel sorry about the death of a sister you've never met.
“Alanis?” a voice sounds from the doorway. I turn my head just enough to see Mother Elena peeking her head inside the cracked wooden doorway.
“Yes?” I crumple the paper in my hands. It makes enough noise to draw her attention.
She sits, uninvited, on the bed next to me, causing it to sink in enough that I feel like I'm leaning to one side. Her wrinkled face looks at me with concern. Years of worry have taken their toll on the old woman who wears the same gray dress suit she has had for as long as I've known her. I sometimes wonder if it's the same dress or if she keeps hundreds of them in her closet, so she'll always know what to wear. “Is that the letter again? Why do you torture yourself this way?”
Her hand moves toward the paper, but I rip it away, my anger growing with each passing second.
“I'll stop.” With one last squeeze of the parchment, it bursts into flames. The paper sits in the palm of my hand, burning away the words and a little bit of my sadness. But it doesn't take away the truth-I will be leaving the home I've always known and shoved into an entirely new world. After several seconds, the flames disappear, leaving behind a few charred ashes and a smell of smoke that fills our nostrils. The smell calms me.
Mother Elena's eyes widen at my audacity. She has mostly gotten used to me using my ability so freely, even though it is frowned upon in the orphanage, but sometimes I can still surprise her.
“You shouldn't be so careless with your abilities. They won't be as easy on you at the castle when you use them without knowing how to truly control them. Please promise me you'll watch your temper, Alanis. If you mouth off there you could-”
“What? Wind up dead? Just like Kylie? They won't kill me, Mother Elena. They need me. I'm their princess, their savior. They can just replace their beloved Kylie, future queen, with a girl who happens to look like her and it'll appease the masses who continue to mourn the death of their perfect daughter. So, no, Mother Elena, I'm not in any danger. The only other successor to Banport is a 13-year-old spoiled brat who is so unpopular with the kingdom, she would probably be hanged before she could even go through her coronation. I'm safe. And I don't need you to protect me any longer. You've done your job for the royal family. You've kept me alive. Now it's their turn.”
My hands grab at the bed so tightly the sheet rips beneath them. Anger tears through me, burning the pit of my stomach, broiling like the pea soup we had for dinner the night before. Without realizing it, and before I can stop it, my anger turns to fire and seeps from the palms of my hands. The sheet quickly catches fire, sending both of us running to safety just as the fire engulfs the bed.
Mother Elena stands in the center of the room, holding out her hands. I watch as she twists her arms and concentrates on the flames. It's almost like a dance, the way she can control her suppression ability. She's the only person I've ever met who could squash my flames. It’s one of the reasons she was chosen to run the orphanage, so the children couldn’t get the best of her and overuse their own abilities.
Slowly, the flames turn to smoke and eventually nothing. All that is left are the charred remains of a mattress and a bent bed frame.
Mother Elena lowers her arms. I can hear the sadness in their movements. She looks to me, but not with anger. Instead, there is pity.
“This is exactly what I mean.” Her voice comes out as a whimper. She grabs both of my shoulders and squeeze. Her eyes burn with a passion I have never seen. Suddenly, her voice is strong again. “You are powerful; much more powerful than those of us who are low birth. You don't know your own strength and that strength will only grow as they train you to control armies and shed blood for their cause. If you're not careful, you could inflict great amounts of damage to not only those around you, but to yourself. Even the Council of Etania doesn't quite understand why some have abilities such as yours, so I'm sure you will not be able to understand it. I can't. So, please, please be careful, Alanis. Your sister was just like you-everyone knew it. They used her, like they'll use you. You're like a daughter to me, Alanis and I don't want something to happen to you.”
“Like a daughter, but not a daughter,” I hiss, pushing her arms off my shoulders. “I'll never be your daughter, Mother Elena. And you would do well to not speak to your future queen in such a manner.”
It has been quite awhile since I've updated on this site, so I thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know where I am in my writings.
Currently, I am working on several projects, including a new novel (which is almost complete), a feature length screenplay and a pilot episode for a television series, so I've been busy!
The book, which is currently titled, "Ice: A Banport Novel" is currently going through editing stages. I am looking for anyone interested in becoming a beta reader. You can contact me on here or through Facebook/Twitter. I will happily send you a synopsis for the story to see if you would be interested.
The book is YA fantasy fiction, so I would prefer beta readers who are interested in this particular genre. Although, I will consider those who don't normally read it. I just ask that you be completely honest in your critiques.
The screenplay, titled "Roy and Henry: Path of Destiny" is also complete. My Co-Director and I are currently searching for funding sources for this project. I will keep you updated as this project moves along.
The show, titled "Local Legends" has been an on again, off again project that I've recently stepped into at the request of my (above) Co-Director. We will be filming a pilot episode for this show very soon.
So, there you have it-almost everything I'm working on right now.
Growing up Amish is difficult…but leaving it behind is even harder.
Noah was Amish...Rose wasn't. Being together should have been impossible. But somehow they found a way to make it work. They are finally a family, but their happily-ever-after is still a long off. Will Rose and her friends be able to force real change?
Karen Ann Hopkins returns with a gripping new book in the YA Temptation series. The powerful family saga continues with Rachel's Deception, as events spiral out of control in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview. And Rachel Miller has her own secrets to hide. Noah’s younger sister has been living a double life. That is, until Justin Cameron, Rose's little brother, catches her in the act. Rachel is not the obedient Amish girl that her sister was, and her rebelliousness takes her to a very dangerous world. A world that only her true friends can help her escape from.
As Rachel questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment, Rose discovers what it really means to be shunned. And an evil shadow looms on the horizon, threatening not only Rose, but everyone she holds dear.
Add to Goodreads | Amazon│Barnes & Noble
Temptation (Book 1) on Goodreads |Get a Copy Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
Belonging (Book 2) on Goodreads | Get a Copy Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
Forever (Book 3) on Goodreads | Get a Copy Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
Here is some exciting news for all those audiobook lovers out there: The Temptation Series is now available, so get your copy right now! Listen to a sample on audible.
Karen Ann Hopkins resides in northern Kentucky with her family on a farm that boasts a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats. Karen's main job is home schooling the kids, but she finds time to give riding lessons, coach a youth equestrian drill team, and of course, write. She was inspired to create her first book, Temptation, by the Amish community she lived in. The experiential knowledge she gained through her interactions with her neighbors drove her to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Rose and Noah.
Karen grew up about a mile from Lake Ontario in Upstate New York. She was bitten by the horse bug at the age of five, and after diligently taking riding lessons for several years, was rewarded with her first horse when she turned eleven. The feisty horse's name was Lady, a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred cross, who became Karen's steadfast companion. Through the years, the constant force in her life was horses. Eventually, she found her place as a riding instructor herself. Before accepting her fate in the barnyard, she worked a short stint as a paralegal, traveled abroad, and guided tourists on horseback riding tours in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Karen is currently working on her Amish mystery series, Serenity's Plain Secrets, along with the YA paranormal/fantasy series, The Wings of War. Karen is also excited to announce the Temptation series has been optioned for TV by Pilgrim Studios and is available on Audible.
Website│Goodreads│Twitter│Facebook | Instagram
Tour Organized by:
A Leisure Moment
We have a really exciting prize package for this tour, so make sure to follow along for more chances to win every day! What’s up for grabs:
• 5 e-copies of Lamb to the Slaughter, Book 1 of Serenity’s Plain Secrets
• 5 e-copies of Whispers from the Dead, Book 2 of Serenity’s Plain Secrets
• A traditional Amish style hand stitched wall hanging/lap quilt
Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
I've decided to take a step back from book reviews and cover reveals to talk about a very important topic that has been plaguing my mind since I first heard about it a few weeks ago.
That topic is gamer gate.
While many have still not heard about gamer gate, those of us who game (whether hardcore or only occasionally) have most likely heard something about it in our diving of social media sites.
For the longest time, I was unsure what the gamer gate scandal was all about, so I kept quiet and read all the blogs I could find about it, heard all the opinions and waited to see how long it would take before it died down and everyone moved on with their lives once again.
But, that hasn't happened.
In the few weeks since I first learned about gamer gate, I've seen several women being harassed because they dared to speak about women inside the gaming world. It began with a woman named Zoe Quinn, who created a game and received a decent amount of positive feedback. Soon after, an ex-boyfriend, Eron Gjoni, posted a piece about their relationship, claiming Quinn had cheated on him with several people, including a gaming journalist. This caused a severe uproar in online forums that led to threats against Quinn, which eventually led to Quinn having to flee her home.
After the controversy over Quinn, a game developer named Brianna Wu made several posts about the scandal and the blatant sexism in gaming, which ultimately led to threats and Wu also having to flee her home.
Since then, Anita Sarkeesian, who was supposed to speak Utah State University on women in gaming, was forced to cancel her appearance after a massacre was threatened if she appeared.
And, now we have poor Felicia Day, an actress who is also an avid gamer, who came out and gave her opinion of the gamergate scandal, only to be doxxed within the hour her post was published.
I think what surprises me most about this situation is the lack of outrage. I've seen outrage in the gaming community, obviously, especially by women, but what about everyone else? If this was about women who were being forced out of office jobs or retail stores, etc., there would be newspaper articles everywhere, people calling for boycotts and lawsuits. And, while I understand it is a small group of people making the threats, it is still a serious issue, because that small amount of people are being heard.
A friend of mine recently asked how we be a community of modern gamers while still carrying a 15th century mentality? It's a valid point. Too often women are looked down upon in the gaming community because they are women. I've been through it myself.
I used to LARP (live action role playing) when I was in college. I was the only girl for the longest time. Many of the guys saw me as nothing more than a player with boobs and would sometimes make inappropriate comments. And, the girls dating those guys weren't any better because they would often make comments that I was only playing to get with someone. I continued because I loved it. I had fun and I still do, even when I tell someone I like to play Magic: The Gathering or Zelda games and they tell me I can't be a girly girl and a gamer also.
It's disgusting what we're doing to our own community. Something needs to change. They times are changing and women are stepping up and taking over in what was once looked at to be a man's community. Those small groups of people who believe something else need to take a step back and look at themselves and stop threatening the women in this community.
We are not male gamers and female gamers, we are just gamers.
I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the previewers for this fantastic book.
The synopsis reads, "There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.
Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a seventeen year old girl who discovers that she's immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt's boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember's exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she's a Watcher, a descendant of angels. While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicably drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it's cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that's been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn't only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She may be one of the few champions willing to make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.
Embers is a dark and gritty YA novel that’s the first book in the series, The Wings of War."
I've read everything published by Karen Ann Hopkins and I was pleased to see her traveling in a different territory. While many authors will stick with one genre, eventually beating it to death, Hopkins has taken on a different challenge with every new series, proving she can take on any writing challenge.
While Embers begins a little slower than what I'm used to reading, I was happy I stuck through the first couple of chapters. It becomes an enticing story of a girl unlike many characters I've read before her. Ember is unique and strong and not easily deterred. She's grounded, real and relatable.
One of the things that originally worried me about the book was that I've never been interested in the Angel story lines and good vs. evil has been done more times than I can count. But, the Angels in this book are nothing like I expected them to be and did not make me want to stop reading. So, if you're like me, and not too interested in Angels, don't let that stop you from picking it up!
It's an exciting story that will make you want to read more. And, if the rest of the series is anything like the first book, this will definitely be one for the bookshelves.
I just realized this never posted on Sept. 3. I've been having some serious issues with the website builder update and things are disappearing or not posting altogether. I may have to switch builder sites. *Sigh*. ANYWAY...
Here it is! The cover reveal for Karen Ann Hopkins' newest novel, Ember! The cover is amazing and I'm so excited for this book.
Check back in late October for a review. Until then, you can find an excerpt below the cover to keep you satisfied for a little while. :)
There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them. And she may be the only hope mankind has as the rapture approaches and evil rises.
Embers is an epic paranormal adventure about an eighteen year old girl who discovers that she's immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt's boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember's exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she finds out that she's a Watcher, a descendant of angels. While Ember learns about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two young men who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicably drawn to one of the men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it is cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war—one that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil—and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She also might be one of the few champions who will make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.
Embers is a dark and gritty YA novel that’s the first book in the series, The Wings of War.
Ivan spoke with an excited voice. “Do you hear it, Ember?”
I tilted my head and listened. It was faint, but there was a low rumble in the distance. As we walked forward the sound grew.
“Yes. Is that the falls?” I asked.
He nodded his head. “We’re almost there.”
Soon the noise was a deafening roar, vibrating in my ears. When we stepped out of the cover of the trees, I was astonished. Raven Branch Falls was much larger than I expected. The water dropped from nearly seventy feet into a dark pool. Giant boulders jutted out below the pool to create smaller falls, which led into a rapidly flowing rocky creek bed.
My gaze was drawn to a tree leaning out from the side of the falls where a large grey owl was partially hidden in the foliage. There was something familiar about its eyes, and the way it was looking at me gave me the distinct feeling that I knew the bird. Could it be the same owl I saw racing through the air the day of my arrival?
Ivan grasped my arm and tugged me closer to the falls. He held my arm tightly as we stepped onto the boulders beside the deep water hole. Spots on the enormous rocks were wet and slippery from the spray of the falls and I was grateful for his help. He led me out to the farthest point we could go, where a carpet of soft moss blanketed the surface of a particularly large boulder. Ivan gestured for me to sit, which I did, and then he bounded off, climbing along the boulders until he was a little ways downstream.
I watched him go, thinking what a nice boy—or wolf, he was.
Without looking, I knew Sawyer was behind me. The movements of my stomach and heart gave him away. He sat down very close.
“Where did you come from?” he coaxed softly.
For a second I saw the boy from my dream.
The breath caught in my throat. I gazed at him.
He doesn’t seem evil to me.
And.......here it is! The beautiful cover!
Christy Howell is the author of the Eloquentia series