Preciously Precocious Children – Part 3

GemEleven-year-old Gem has traveled from his home planet of Topha to meet with ten extraordinary children, all sixteen and under. These children have been given the RJ Conte label of “Preciously Precocious” and are heroesGem 2 of their own stories.


Gem, future possible savior of his fragile planet, is prepping to take on the planet’s core with the power of his mind.  For motivation, he’s interviewing child heroes.



And now for the final installment of interviews! And make sure you check out each of their amazing stories – all of which are on Amazon – including Gem’s!


  1. Footer - Footer Davis Probably is Crazy - 11Fontana “Footer” Davis, 11 years old, of Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught

Gem: Do you prefer English or math?

Footer: I prefer anything Ms. Perry doesn’t teach. I really like English because Ms. Malone teaches it, and she gets me, you know? She didn’t even make me go to the office over that serial killer book.

Gem: (laughs) I get you there.  Some of my supervisors’ minds are really awful and unkind places (I have telepathy). I prefer Soleil in every way.

Okay, you get a dingbat as a pet.  What do you name it?

Footer: What’s a dingbat?

Gem: Anything you want it to be.  A fictional pet.  (grins)

Footer: If it’s anything like a walrus, don’t get it near me. Seriously. Walruses are creepy. If it looks like a kitty, I’d call her Dorothy for Dorothy Thompson, who was like the bravest, coolest journalist in history. I think I’ll be an investigative journalist. I like investigating stuff, and I plan to find these two kids who went missing from the farm behind my house.

Gem: (cheers) Go Footer!  So what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Footer: I do a lot of brave things, like clean snake guts off bird feeders, look at pictures of walruses, and try to keep my friend Peavine’s little sister Angel from stealing all my books (she’s plotting my murder, no doubt), and show up in 5th period every day even though Ms. Perry is there (probably plotting my murder too).

Gem: (laughing harder) How you feel about walruses is how I feel about sloths.  (shudder)  Thanks, Footer!  Stay alive!  🙂

Footer Davis is on the case when two kids go missing after a fire in this humorously honest novel that is full of Southern style.510r0Cpkh4L

Here are some things that are true about Footer Davis:
1. She has a BB gun named Louise.
2. Walruses freak her out.
3. Her mom has bipolar disorder.

But she wants you to know that it’s not that big a deal. She’s just Mom, and usually she’s fine except sometimes when she doesn’t take her pills. But right now what’s most important to Footer is what happened to those kids at the Abrams farm. See, there was a fire there a few nights ago, and those kids haven’t been seen since. Pretty sure they got burned up. What Footer and Peavine—that’s her best friend—want to know is who started the fire?

Buy Footer Davis Probably is Crazy on


Blondie - Blondie McGhee - 92. Blondelle “Blondie” McGhee, 9 years old, from Blondie McGhee: At Your Service by Ashley Eneriz

Gem: What do you believe about love?

Blondie: I really love being a detective, and I really love my dachshunds (a.k.a. wiener dogs), Emma and George – although George can be a pain in the behind most of the time!  He has helped me solve several cases.

Gem: I wish I had a pet!  So who do you get along better with: your mom or dad?

Blondie: Hmmm… That’s a tricky one. Both of my parents are pretty cool, but I am still on cloud nine from when my dad put together the most awesome surprise with clues.

Gem: I miss my parents.  That’s really cool.  So what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Blondie: Go into my school attic when some other girls told me it was haunted. I was scared of running into a ghost – or even worse, the principal – but I had no idea what kind of adventure I was really about to be in!

Gem: Now I want to know!

Got a crime?51mCbpvUVUL
Need a professional detective?
You’ve come to the right girl.

Blondie’s the name and solving cases at Graham Elementary is my game. 

I promised I would never, ever solve a case for that meanie, Owen Thomas, but when he is accused of starting the crazy food fight and is about to be expelled, I am his only hope.

Can I wipe his name clean of mashed potatoes before the principal expels Owen for good?

Buy Blondie McGhee: At Your Service on


Ruby - Healing Ruby - 133. Ruby Graves, 13 years old, from Healing Ruby by Jennifer H. Westall

Gem: Do you ever have a dream while you’re sleeping that makes you not want to wake up?

Ruby: Sometimes I dream about being with my daddy. He was strong and good to me, and I miss him like crazy. I dream I’m sitting at his feet again in front of the fire, listening to his deep voice read his Bible before breakfast. I wake from those dreams with a sad kind of joy, missing him so much, but knowing I’ll see him again someday.

Gem: I wish I could’ve met your dad.  So, on a less sad note… who’s the most irritating person in your life? (laughs)

Ruby: I swear, I can’t pick just one. My brother Henry loves to pick on me, and I could just punch him in the mouth sometimes. But my oldest brother James might be even worse. At least Henry plays with me and makes me laugh. Ever since Daddy died, James acts like I’m a burden he has to carry to Timbuktu and back twice a day. Why, he even tried to marry me off just to get rid of me!

Gem: Wow.  Maybe I’m glad now I never had brothers!  So what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Ruby: I don’t see myself as brave. It just seems like there are times when God calls me to act, and doing so puts me in the middle of a storm, sometimes literally. I’ve learned to trust Him, even if it means running headlong into the storm, because He is in the storm. Nahum 1:3 says, “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in the whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” I don’t know why He calls me, I just know I have to obey.  I’m not brave. I just choose to trust Him.

Gem: You have amazing faith, Ruby.  I needed that.  Thank you!

Ruby Graves, a young girl in Depression-era Alabama, faces the hardships of poverty and 51jNtK+qVFLloss with as much faith as she can muster. At only the age of thirteen, she’s already lost a younger brother to illness, and now faces losing both her father and the boy who’s stealing her heart to illnesses as well. Armed with her beloved Scriptures, she prays daily for their healing, only to have her tender faith shattered by her father’s death. Through her pain, she’s able to connect with her long-lost Uncle Asa, who’s mere presence at his brother’s funeral brings murmurs of a scandalous past involving her parents and a prominent local pastor, Irwin Cass. When Ruby discovers that one of Asa’s many secrets is an ability to heal, and that she may be next in line for the “gift,” she vows to find the faith that has eluded her so far, a faith that could mean never losing loved ones again. But faith and doubt can’t reside in the same heart, not according to her father, and doubt is Ruby’s constant companion. As she struggles to find the true meaning of faith, she’s opposed at every turn by the pastor who would see her family destroyed and a community that can’t see deeper than the color of one’s skin. Through her search for a faith that could move mountains and a true understanding of her gift, can Ruby trust in a God that may require the ultimate sacrifice?

You can buy Healing Ruby on


Chad - Angel-Lover - 164. Chad Burnhill, 16 years old, from Angel-Lover by RJ Conte

Gem: Hey Chad!  So I’m an INTP.  What’s your Myers-Briggs type?

Chad: Hey.  So that’s a really interesting question.  For a long time, I was convinced I was an INFJ.  I think I have two very strong J parents – workaholics, driven people.  But in reality, I found out recently I’m actually INFP.  It explains a bunch, including my depression and artistic creativity.

Gem: So we’re close in type, except you’re the mushy emotional version of me, eh? Okay, feeler, tell us a secret you’ve never told another soul.

Chad: Oh great.  Now I’m going to feed into your perception that I’m a soft feely guy… I’m in love with Angelique Rose – this angel at my school.  She’s not a literal angel, I don’t think… I mean, she sure looks like one with the blond curls and all… (coughs ) Something’s seriously different about her, and I’m going to figure it out.

Gem: Blondes, eh?  I hear you on that one.  (winks) What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Chad: Stepped foot in this mega church in my area.  Walking into one of those religious places was absolutely terrifying.  Then coming clean to my parents about what I thought later… Whew.  I have a feeling I’m going to have to be really brave about some other things too because I have a feeling all’s not right in Angelique’s world…

Gem: Stay strong, man!  We’re rooting for you!2D

Chad is a reclusive teenager whose thoughts are full of loneliness and suicide. The only thing that he obsesses over more than planning his own death is the nicest, sweetest, most beautiful girl in school. As he stalks her and watches her, he learns the truth about what she believes in and, in the process, finds Someone Else he did not expect.

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Preciously Precocious Children – Part 2

Gem’s back to interview more children heroes – middle grade and young adult books that Gem 2can be enjoyed by your kids.  🙂  Make sure to pick up books on Amazon that interest you, and feel free to share the interviews!  And check out Gem’s own hero story as the sole savior of his dying planet of Topha here.

1. Sadie Larcen, 16 years old, from The Tethered World by Heather L.L. FitzGerald

Gem: What’s the best thing about being a kid?

Sadie - The Tethered World - 16Sadie: I’d have to say that the best thing about being a kid is the way you can quickly adapt to new circumstances. When you’re young, it’s easier to take life’s unforeseen plot twists and turn them into an adventure. My little sister Sophie definitely embraced the crazy things that happened to our family better than I did when our lives were first turned inside out. (laughs) But these days I actually get bored if something doesn’t stir the pot—or the plot—and break the monotony. I’m sixteen, which is still kind of a kid, right? These days there’s definitely a fairytale loving princess inside who wants to get out and find some excitement. Maybe even a little danger 😉

Gem: I’ll let you come save my planet, and take your monotony then!  Ha!  So what’s your dream job?

Sadie: I feel like my life is divided between “before the kidnapping” and “after the kidnapping.” Okay, it totally IS divided into those two parts. Who am I kidding? So, before everything I would have told you I wanted to be an author. Or maybe just a bookish English professor or something.

But now–NOW–my life, my location, my interests have all become, well . . . complicated. Though I’ve achieved one particular goal–that of being an author (see The Tethered World Chronicles for more on that. Haha!)–that particular accomplishment now feels like a small fish in a big pond. It was something I’d always assumed I’d do later in life. Instead, I actually set my family’s adventures down right after they occurred. (It was cheaper than therapy so, there’s that.)

And yet, in the vast, hidden realm of the Tethered World, there’s so much work to be done. I know God has a bigger purpose for me than I’ve ever dared to dream for myself. Plus, there may be a particularly tall, dark, and handsome Nephilim prince whom I’ve grown rather fond of . . . *sigh*.  I guess I can no longer give a safe and definitive “what I wanna be when I grow up” answer to your question, Gem. Sorry for the roundabout way I’ve replied. But, like I said, it’s complicated! One thing is certain . . . it’s going to have more to do with my life underground in the Tethered World than it will Topside, where I grew up in Washington state.


With everything that’s happened to me “after the kidnapping,” I can accept that. And, hey, it’s not like I really have much choice anyway. One can’t escape the call of their Maker.


Gem: I totally get that.  Whether or not I survive telepathically controlling my first core earthquake will mean I can suddenly begin to dream about my future.  I know I want Soleil by my side, but what else is there?  It’s hard to think past the big bits of suffering that have to come first, and going through a near-death experience and (Hopefully!) surviving may totally change my perspective.


So, along those lines, what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?


Sadie: The bravest thing? (laughs) A couple of years ago I would’ve said that forcing myself to ride a rollercoaster at Disneyland (with eyes closed, of course) would have counted as my attempt at bravery.


Now…well, for starters, I’ve ridden a dragon, have been transported by a cyclone of faeries, and have traveled to mysterious places to rescue those that I love—without always succeeding. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the changes that have taken place inside—sometimes I hardly recognize myself! Until recently, my idea of adventure was what I could find in books. It’s only by God’s grace that I’ve come through these things. Seriously. And not just “by the skin of my teeth” sort of come through…but I’ve learned to be thankful for everything that has happened to me and my family, despite the fact that I once fought so hard against it.


I think that kind of thankfulness takes bravery.


Gem: I can learn a lot from you.  Thank you, Sadie.


“Normal” means different things to different people. For sixteen-year-old Sadie Larcen, 51L-3BglRLLfamily dynamics look a little different than most. Parents with oddball occupations? Normal. Five home-schooled siblings—one with autism? Normal. Police knocking on the door and parents gone missing? Definitely not normal! When Sadie uncovers the reasons behind her parents’ disappearance and the truth about her heritage, she despairs of ever feeling normal again. Especially when she learns that her mother’s interest in Bigfoot, Dwarves, and other lore extends beyond her popular blog. Sadie’s family has been entrusted with keeping the secrets of the Tethered World—home to creatures that once roamed the Garden of Eden. Sadie and her siblings must venture into this land to rescue their parents. Stepping out of reality and into a world she never knew existed is a journey Sadie fears and resents. But she chooses to risk all to save her family. She’s just not sure she will survive during the process.


You can buy The Tethered World on!


ClaireLee - Just Claire - 132. ClaireLee Monteiro, 13 years old, from Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams


Gem: How many children do you want when you grow up?  I know you’ve been a caretaker to your own siblings for a while.


ClaireLee: I want eight children.


Gem: Wow!  That’s a love of kiddos!  Do you have an embarrassing hidden talent?


ClaireLee: I can bite my fingernails off and spit them a long ways across a room!


Gem: Sounds like a great weapon!  Haha!  Okay, but now the important, serious question: what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?


ClaireLee: The bravest thing I’ve ever done is crawl across a log over the river to save someone.


Gem: That’s why I wanted to interview you, because a little bird had told me you were a secret hero too.  🙂  Thanks, ClaireLee!


One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.51yGK1eDm-L
ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu which hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.


You can buy Just Claire on


Gem: Bensin, you’ve been living life as a slave.  Boy, do I know how that feels. Although you’ve had a little sister, Ellie, to protect as well!
Who’s the hardest person in your life to understand?


Bensin: Officer Shigo, definitely. He’s the City Watch officer who arrested Ellie and me. All slaves know we’ve got to be careful around Watch officers, even when we’re not breaking the law. A lot of them look for any excuse to punish us. But Officer Shigo is different. When I needed money, he invited me to do some chores over at his place. I’ve gone a few times, and he pays me well. He always asks how Ellie and I are doing, and he’s come to watch several of my cavvara shil tournaments. He acts friendly and supportive, but he’s still a Watch officer, and I know he would arrest me again if he caught me trying to escape again. Sometimes when he asks questions about Ellie and me, I’m afraid he suspects what I’m planning. I can’t figure out what he really wants from me.


Gem: That would be confusing.  My ability to read minds would come in handy in this situation.  (winks)  Who’s your best friend?


Bensin: That would be Ricky. He’s a little older than me, and he knows a lot about nearly everything. He’s the one who taught me how to pick a lock. He’s got a list of helpful tips that he calls Ricky’s Rules for Surviving Slavery, and he says someday he’s going to publish them in a book and make enough money from it to buy his freedom. Of course, the people who would benefit most from a book like that are the ones with the least money for buying things, so I’m not too sure that’s going to work out for him. But in the meantime, I’m glad he’s around to help me figure out useful stuff.


Gem: (laughs)  I’d buy his book.  🙂  What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?


Bensin: That was probably when I tried to help my little sister Ellie escape from our owners, Mr. and Mrs. Creghorn. I’d promised our mom that Ellie would be free someday, so I picked the lock and sneaked out with her one night. I knew what happens to slaves who get caught trying to escape, but I had a plan I was pretty sure could work. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly work out the way I hoped. (sighing) Actually, it took even more courage a couple months later when I had to sneak into an abandoned warehouse by myself and face three armed criminals who were hiding out there. I knew I could get killed, but what would have happened otherwise would have been even worse.


Gem: I can’t even imagine having to protect a little sister.  Wow!


Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only25454725 victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?


You can buy The Collar and the Cavvarach on


Preciously Precocious Children – Part 1

GemEleven-year-old Gem has traveled from his home planet of Topha to meet with ten extraordinary children, all sixteen and under. These children have been given the RJ Conte label of “Preciously Precocious” and are heroes of their own stories.

Gem 2Gem, future possible savior of his fragile planet, wanted to meet other inspiring young people: children who stop dragon trafficking, who protect their families when their mothers go through deep clinical depression, children that speak up to bullies and solve mysteries. Children that have the gift of healing and travel to distant planets like pilgrims. Children that defend fragile otherwordly life. Children that go underneath the ground to other worlds and compete in martial arts, children that fight slavery and mental illness.

We’re going to meet, interview, and talk to these ten Preciously Precocious in a three-part blog series.  And make sure you check out each of their amazing stories – all of which are on Amazon!


  1. Amanda Greene, 10 years old, from The Gold by Krista Wagner Amanda - The Gold -10

Gem: Who was your first crush?

Amanda: Elliott, the boy from E.T.!

Gem: I haven’t seen that one. I’m sure you’d think me an alien too.  😉 So what’s your favorite book of the Bible?

Amanda: John

Gem: And now for the ultimate question. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Amanda: Walked into a mysterious forest!

Gem: Now that sounds promising!

51jbmneuX5LTen-year-old Amanda is constantly teased and tormented in school. Her home life is less than satisfactory where her widower father, who is often away on business trips, leaves her in the care of her indifferent teenage sister. Worse, not a day goes by when Amanda doesn’t miss her mom. To escape reality, Amanda creates fantasy stories, but when she discovers a talking golden pebble, her imagined world turns into a new-fangled reality.

Buy The Gold here on

Rejoice - Shatterworld -12


2. Rejoice in the Lord’s Salvation Holly, 12 years old, from Shatterworld by Lelia Rose Foreman

Gem: Tell us your most embarrassing story!

Rejoice: I forgot to watch the weather when I was harvesting seaweed. A storm blew me so far away from the colony that I got lost. I had to be rescued!

Gem: I’m glad you’re okay! So what do you think is the worst thing about growing up?

Rejoice: The colony is forcing me to be a farmer. There’s nothing wrong with farming, but I don’t want to farm. I want to be an astronomer, but my parents tell me I’m being selfish.

Gem: If anyone understands what it’s like having their whole life dictated to them and being groomed for a specific task, it’s me.  If I survive the core earthquake to come, I want to escape all this training, and go do what I want to do!  So now for the ultimate question: what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Rejoice: I’m not brave, but I can tell you what the hardest thing I’ve done is: telling the aliens they were all going to die is hard.

Gem: Yeah.  My people understand that too, Rejoice!  You are brave, in my book.

512-AX+uLZLTwelve-year-old Rejoice cannot stop thinking about space. Her religious colony fled the violence of Earth to a new world to establish an agrarian utopia. The elders have determined that she will become a farmer, no matter what she wants. When she discovers aliens in the ocean and then the doom that is aimed at her planet, Rejoice needs to help her people find a way to survive.

Buy Shatterworld here on



3. Cora Harrison, 12 years old, from Cora and the Nurse Dragon by H. L. BurkeCora - Cora and the Nurse Dragon - 12


Gem: The most important question yet: do you like broccoli?

Cora: I’ve never had it. My dad doesn’t really cook. I mean, he’ll make pancakes or something for special occasions, but mostly we get whatever they make in the kitchen of the big house and that’s usually something that can get carried in a pot or a basket. It’s kind of a fancy word, though. Would make a cool name for a dragon.

Gem: Lucky! I’d rather never eat the stuff again.  😉  Okay, for more of an abstract question then: what color of the rainbow best represents who you are?

Cora: This is a weird question. It sounds like one of those poetry questions my best friend Abry is always getting good grades on in school while I get Cs because they really don’t make sense to me. People aren’t colors. I kind of like yellow, mainly because the best racing dragon I ever saw, Gold Digger’s Folly, is a yellowy-gold and that looks really cool, though. I’m not yellow, though. I’m kind of brown-ish, I guess, but Abry tells me that sort of answer is why I always get Cs.

Gem: Haha.  I need to meet this Abry.  And I’d like to see a real dragon too!  For the final ultimate question I’m asking everyone today: what is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? (I’m trying to psych myself up to be brave for a super big task myself…)

Cora: It really depends. If you asked Abry, a LOT of things I do are brave, but that’s only because she worries about silly things like falling out of trees and getting diseases from stepping on nails. I’ve stepped on at least two nails, and I’m still alive. Not sure what she’s going on about. Abry’s a lot braver than me where it involves people though, talking to strangers or teachers, so I guess there’s more than one way to be brave. I guess it would have to be the second time I hatched a Mayfly dragon. The first time I didn’t know what to expect, that they only lived a few weeks, so when it died I was so sad, I thought I’d never get another dragon. When I decided to get another dragon, even though I knew it would die again, I guess that was kind of brave.

Gem: You betcha. Death brings out people’s true bravery every time – even if it’s the death of a pet.  I’m interviewing another guy later whose very special otherworldly pet might die on him too.  Thanks, Cora!

51rD1Bt4MaLCora’s a young girl with two dreams: to be a dragon jockey when she grows up and to own a pet dragon now. She constantly buys “egg packs” at the dragon emporium in hopes that one will hatch into a rare pet-sized dragon, but only gets short-lived mayflies. However, when an unexpected egg does develop into something new, Cora may be over her head.

Buy Cora and the Nurse Dragon here on

Eating Grubs, Missionary Stories, and The Girl Who Could See

61oGrqssxmL._UX250_Say hello to Kara Swanson!  I met her at Realm Makers in Reno last year, and we quickly bonded.  She’s a kindred spirit, an ENFJ, and an old soul even though she’s a decade younger than I am.  She’s got great connections and great thoughts, and they translate to beautiful words on the written page.  I was able to be a beta reader for her amazing book, Skyridge, during the month of December.  And now she’s currently writing a Peter Pan retelling that I’m super excited about.  This girl is going places for the Lord!

I interviewed her months ago and am now FINALLY getting a chance to put it up here on514NkgTQtSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ my blog.  Check out her novella “The Girl Who Could See” if you like romantic sci-fi.  🙂


Kara, do you have a (non-family) best friend?  Who? And why?

Kara: Hmmm interesting question! I have a few close friends, and always feel a bit odd signaling one person out as a ‘best friend’ as they each are so special to me ^_^  

Me: Mhmmmm… This is a politically correct answer. 😉 😛

Kara: When I was younger, I lived in a remote tribe and our coworkers had four boys. One of them, Jacob, was my age and definitely my best friend in the tribe growing up. I was a bit of a tomboy and Jacob was often my partner in crime… 🙂

Me: What’s your favorite book(s)? Movie(s)?

Kara: Hmm I love the Narnia books. And have a soft spot for Marvel movies. Lately I’m rather obsessed with Tom Holland and Spiderman: Homecoming 😉
Me: Ahhhhhhhh!  I loved that movie!  I was a diehard Tobey Maguire fan, so I refused to watch any other Spiderman movies, but my parents told me I’d love it, and I did!  Can I adopt Tom Holland???
Where are all of the places you’ve lived and why?  Which was your favorite?
Kara: Whoa, okay. Ummm to keep it simple, I’ve lived overseas in Papua New Guinea (several different locations there), and then many states. California, Missouri, Oregon, Idaho…and spent a few days visiting churches in plenty of others that I couldn’t count 😉 Hard to say which was my favorite, they were all unique. Wewak was a coastal town in Papua New Guinea and it was beautiful. Palm trees, secluded beaches with water almost as warm as a bath. Tropical breezes and unique animals. That was a wonderful place to live. I spent 16 years in Papua New Guinea because my family were missionaries. Most of that time was spent in a tribe called Siawi, remote in the jungle. It was only accessible by airplane and we had no roads, electricity, wifi etc.
Me: That is amazing!  *jaw drops*
What’s your funniest missionary kid story?
Kara: Okay so this was definitely not funny to the rest of my family, but it’s the first thing that pops into my head, soooo…
We had a river that ran in front of our house, and we would always go swimming with my dad around 4:00 in the afternoon. We’d often times play games where one person would be “it” with their eyes closed, and have to swim around the river trying to tag anyone else. Once they’d caught someone, that person would also be “it” with them. Well, I had a habit of being able to hold my breath for a very long time. So one of the rounds of this game I was the last person left, while there were several people–including my father–swimming around trying to tag me. So I dove down, grabbed a big rock, and walked across the bottom of the river to a nice corner and hunkered down. I held my breath for as long as I could, watching everyone else swimming around. After a while, they all formed a line and began walking across the water, splaying their hands back and forth. I thought it was odd, so I finally decided to pop up.
Turns out, I’d been holding my breath so long they thought I’d drowned or passed out, and were dragging the water for me. O.O Needless to say, while I thought it was a little amusing, my father did not… 😉 
Me: Oh my!!  Hahaha
What’s your scariest?
Kara: How to pick one? We had a murder that happened in our tribe, that almost started a tribal war with another tribe. I was pretty young, and everyone but my father (and our co worker’s father) had to fly out of the tribe. I remember wondering if my dad was about to get caught in the middle of a war–and if he’d make it out. 
Me: Wow.  I can’t even imagine.  That’s real life terror we don’t have to think about here in America.
What kinds of odd pets did you have?
Kara: Oooh all kinds! I had eight wallabies (mini kangaroos), a hornbill (like a Toucan without the colorful beak), we had a Cockatoo (that was our coworkers, but we took care of him after they left), several different kinds of cuscus (kind of like a fuzzy possum), all kind of parrots, a wild Dingo dog, a monitor lizard…
Me: Mini kangaroos and a Dingo!
What do you miss about the mission field?  What don’t you miss?
Kara: I miss the people. I miss the tropical weather, beaches and lush jungles. I don’t miss being so remote or watching so many friends leave.

Me: That totally makes sense.

Now for funny questions:

What’s the craziest thing you’ve eaten?

Kara: Grub worms. Raw. You had to bite their little squirming pincher heads off before tossing them in your mouth. Delicious, right?
Me: Ehhhhh… Um… I’ll pass?  😉
What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
Kara: Swiss.
Me: I can’t stand swiss.  I didn’t know there was anyone who liked it.  :-O
Team Tennant or Team Smith? (There is totally a right answer here!)
Kara: Team Tennant. Is there any other option???? 😉


Me: Good answer!  No, there is no other option. 😛

Lastly, the writer questions:

What inspired The Girl Who Could See?

Kara: A combination of a lot of things. The original concept sprouted from two sentences that popped into my head one day: They say every child had an imaginary friend. Mine never left. I also drew from my experiences battling Lyme Disease, constantly moving and having a perspective on the world few others had as a missionary kid.
Me: Awww.  Yeah!  You’ve been through a lot!
What new projects do you have up your sleeves that you can tell us about?
Kara: I’m working on revisions on a sci fi/dystopian about a girl who realizes that everything she knows–her world, her family and even her very identity is a lie. And also rewriting a YA paranormal about a girl who’s father is a fallen angel, with a destiny to destroy the world–but she has other plans. 🙂
Me: That last one is Skyridge!  ^_^
What book do you really wish could be made into a movie?
Kara: I think that Storm Siren by Mary Weber would be a great movie 🙂 I’ve also always wanted The Witch of Blackbird Pond to be made into a movie!
Me: I adore “The Witch of Blackbird Pond.”  I agree with you!  I haven’t read any of Mary Weber’s books yet.  I need to get on that!
Thank you so much for having me, RJ! This was a lot of fun ^_^ ❤
Me: Thank YOU, Kara!  Love you dearly!

Rosalie, Butterfly Rider

Am writing. Middle Daughter is writing her own short story. She dictates the plot to me, and I pretty up the words and type it up. 

Piece of today’s section:


Rosalie never got tired of flying.

She tore her hair free of the bun and let it sail behind her, the wind rushing past her face to tangle in her pale locks. Tiny insect houses dotted the landscape like colorful flowers below her. Butterflies played in free-floating spirals of joyful buzzing, their larvae crawling up stalks to watch and cheer. The forest beneath her was full of billowy branches that gave the appearance of feathers dancing in the breeze, but Vanessa climbed in altitude until Rosalie thought the deep green crowns looked as tiny as blades of grass.

In the corner of Rosalie’s vision, a circular pattern of red light with a deep crimson cross pulsed. With the reigns, she gently nudged Vanessa towards the center of the perpendicular lines.
Beyond the vast forest lay an open plain at the foot of a magnificent mountain peak. Sparse shrubs dotted the outskirts of the lush wildflowers and phlox.

A voice deep inside of Rosalie’s mind whispered that she had arrived. She shouted over the wind to her ride, “Land here!”



The winners of my giveaway are Sarah VandeBogert – winner of a paperback copy of “A Bottle of Glass Hearts”
and Olivia Hofer – winner of an ebook copy of “A Bottle of Glass Hearts”
Congratulations, guys!!! And thank you, everyone, for playing!! 😀
To purchase your own copy of A Bottle of Glass Hearts – go here. 

Cover Reveal!

I’m currently writing my first real rom-com (romantic comedy), called “My Fault”!

The main character, Cleo Stanton, is on the Asperger scale as well, which has been really fun and special.  This will be another short story, like a lot of what I’ve been putting out lately.  So stay tuned for its completion!  I hope to have it done fairly soon!

But without further ado…



Meanwhile, as you wait, be sure to pick up your pre-order of “A Bottle of Glass Hearts,” on sale for $2.99 on Amazon!



FREE Paperback and Ebook Copy of A Bottle of Glass Hearts!

Want a free paperback or ebook copy of A Bottle of Glass Hearts, releasing February 14, Valentines’ Day?

This giveaway goes until February 21st!  Enter now!


Click HERE to go to the giveaway!: a Rafflecopter giveaway

From RJ Conte, weaver of deep, emotional fiction, comes a touching collection of short stories about love and unique relationships – including the bestselling Lucent Sylph!

When Soleil is hired as caretaker to a young boy born with superhuman powers, it’s up to her hope and optimism to help him survive his dangerous destiny – stopping the core earthquake that will destroy the world.

Her daughter has left the faith, and her heart is dashed in pieces. Then Jesus shows her a room full of bottles in a dream – vessels filled with tears, carrying stories she will never forget.

And one of them is her own.

Rae has the most beautiful hair in the world… and the saddest eyes. Every week she returns to Blaine’s hairdressing shop, saying hardly a word. As he transforms her into the beauty of his dreams, she cries in silence. His heart breaks for her secret sorrow, and he longs to discover the mystery behind her tears.

For centuries, Aine and her magnificent kindred have protected the skies from vast, galaxy-sized threats. But her fiercest battle yet will determine the fate of thousands on the unsuspecting planets below. Will she have the creativity and fortitude to defeat this newest enemy?

Lucas Thissel has something he fears: an alien species of palm-sized glass fairies called Lucent Sylphs. They came through a portal from a metaphysical dimension, and they indenture themselves as slaves to human beings. Too much neglect or unkindness, and they will cloud over and disintegrate. Too much love and their hearts are overcome and burst.

And one has attached herself to him.

Why I Stopped Texting at Red Lights

may1Last year, my state of Washington enacted a new law: you can’t even hold your phone in your hand at red lights any more.  Ever.  You will be ticketed and fined if you are caught even holding your phone at a red light while sitting and waiting.  Yes.  For reals.  The article is here.

I think this law is stupid.

End of blog post.


Okay… just kidding.  There’s more.  *wink*

I could go into all the reasons why I loathe this new law, why I think its stupid, etc. etc.  What is dangerous about sitting completely stopped at a red light? Practically nothing that would involve a phone.  How long are those red lights where you’re just sitting and waiting?  Often super long.  Would I ever practically get caught doing it if I kept my hand down below the window?  Probably not.

Will so many of you comment with why the law isn’t stupid and will I still insist it’s stupid?  Yep.  *wink*

I could also give you all of my excuses: I get lost easily and have to constantly check gps.  True.  I never text or anything while actually moving.  True.  I am an efficient person who likes to use that dead time.  True. The odds are 99.999999999% that nothing will ever ever happen if I hold my phone in my hand while stopped at a red light.  Also true.  The law was probably made because people are too stupid to pay attention to whether their car’s moving or not.  Probably also true.

However, it’s a law.  It can be repealed on the basis of idiocy, but until then, we’re stuck with it.

I keep wondering if my kids are whispering the same things to themselves behind my back.

“This is stupid.”

It probably feels super stupid to them when I tell them to turn the other way and not sneeze all over the food.  I know they’ve got to think it’s stupid, because they continue to sneeze all over the food and look confused when I exclaim over it.

It probably feels stupid when I tell them to get dressed, make their beds, tidy up their rooms, and do their devotions before they go down to breakfast.  Because time and time again, they choose to ignore this one also.

There are lots of things our authorities tell us to do that can seem overbearing, nonsensical, and stupid.  However, we elect those authorities into office, and until laws get changed, the stuff still stands, stupid or not.

Yet there are just things that are tempting to ignore because they seem stupid.  Using your phone at a red light isn’t in the Bible.  It’s not even considered common sense nationwide.  If I were to move back to Texas tomorrow, I could still hold my phone in my hand and make calls while I drive!

After the umpteenth time of trying to reiterate why we have a certain rule in our house, and having my kids give me that blank look that shows stuff isn’t computing, in a fit of frustration, I vowed never to use my phone at a red light again.

That wasn’t where you thought I was going with this, was it?  *wink*

But really.  I just realized that there are areas – giant areas – and sometimes teeny tiny areas – of unsubmission in my own heart.  Things I want to do anyway because I truly think I know better – and because I’ve decided they’re stupid.

And because I was trying my very best to get through to my kids – “Whether you like it or not or care about it or not, God says to obey your mother, and so you should want to do it because you LOVE HIM, and obeying me shows love to Him.  So because you love Him, just do your homework assignment the way I told you to.  Okay?”

I realized that often times I show hypocrisy.

Now there are gigantic ways I do this, of course, and you might be saying, “Come now, RJ!  What’s this about phones at red lights?  Next you’re probably going to talk to us about watching illegally ripped movies on Youtube or fibbing that your vacuum cleaner stopped working and that’s why your carpet wasn’t clean!  No one cares about this little stuff.  We all do it.  Talk to us about your big, deep sins.  Let’s gawk at that.”

Oh, my friend, I usually do.  I usually talk about the giant stuff on this blog.  But not today.  Today I want to talk to you about a stupid new little law on cell phones at red lights.

Because I think that the same heart attitude of, “I don’t care.  Stupid people made this stupid law and I’m going to do what I want anyway” is the same attitude that my kids have towards completing their chores, and the same attitude I have towards all my biggest sins of pride, ungodly speech, impatience, selfishness, and fear.

“I know what I want, and so I’m going to do it anyway.”

When did Christians become people who tried to get away with as much as possible, instead of people striving for holiness?

And no, I’m not saying we do even the smallest and stupidest of laws so we can be “perfect” and harshly, fearfully lash out at those around us (or maybe even internally judge) like, “How DARE you commit the red-light-law?!  God have MERCY on YOUR SOUL.”

Also, don’t do it because of those watching.  “Kids, let me read you this blog article I just wrote.” *sniffs and straightens lapels* “You can get a good look at how righteous Mama is!  Feel like wanting to be me?”

No, I’m saying, strive for holiness in all those little unsubmissive ways that are pricking your conscience right now – for no one other than the Lord Himself.  Because you love Him.

You’re so in love with Him, that you’d lay down every pleasure, everything that you’re lazy about, everything that you just can’t do without, and everything asked of you just because He defines your happiness and reality. Because you want the cleanest conscience and the holiest living because you’re just in love with who He is – and simply because He says so. ❤



 RJ Conte is a wife and homeschool mother of three little girls (aged 7 and under) by day, and an author by night.  She has written a devotional for toddlers and preschool kids that is meatier than the typical fare they hear in Sunday school.  ASTOUND delivers doctrine and big concepts for the very small, and teaches them to love God, in language they can understand!