Fun and Casual, Scifi Reads from the Road

Moving plus holiday travel equaled lots of time on the road (and in the air). Seems like the perfect time to catch up on reading, but it really depends upon the type of book. I enjoy books that fully immerse me into their skillfully woven, complex tapestry, but not when I can’t give them my undivided attention.

Instead, for the road, I prefer short, easy reads that provide a fun distraction. Stories I can start and stop at leisure without grumbling at each interruption. :-)

Here are two fun and casual, scifi reads from my recent travels.

Old School for Young, Chapter Book Readers

61YRm9Gn9JL._SY346_That Game From Outer Space by Stephen Manes (illustrated by Tony Auth)

From the back cover:
Oscar Noodleman is just an average kid. Nothing exciting ever happens to him. Then one day a giant video game appears mysteriously in Pete’s Pizza Palace.  Suddenly, Oscar’s life isn’t boring anymore!

Fun Factor: Playing catch – A familiar game with a couple of curve balls.

What I liked: An easy science fiction read for beginning chapter book readers that offers an opportunity for a deeper discussion about kindness and empathy.

That Game From Outer Space on Amazon

New and Different for Young Adult Readers

Hearts Ablaze by Janeen Ippolito
*This book was re-released in 2017 under the title My Alien Boyfriend.

From the back cover:
Anthony Salamandras is the perfect boyfriend: attractive, wealthy, caring, and fine with hanging out in the library while Kelley Vanders-Froggett studies for her senior year of college. Sure, she’s never seen his family or visited his home, but details like that can be sorted out after graduation.

Then he pops the question –and sweeps Kelley off to another planet. Now she’s dealing with alien future in-laws, creepy lizards, and a fiery transformation. Not to mention a fiancé who has no clue that this is not how Earth girls celebrate an engagement.

Kelley’s in over her head. But one thing’s for sure: Anthony’s gonna find out just what this daughter of a vacuum cleaner repairman is made of.

Fun Factor: Picnic in the park – A relaxing, sunny day that makes you smile.

What I liked: Pairing of the daughter of vacuum cleaner repairman with a fiery alien was an interesting choice. It’s a big part of why I choose to pick up this book – I enjoy quirky twists. This novella reminded me of the movie “Warm Bodies”.

Hearts Ablaze on Amazon

Are there any fun and casual reads you recommend?

November Whirlwind

A dizzying whirlwind of laughter, tears, and craziness… that’s how I would describe November.

In October, I released a short story on Amazon, submitted the first few pages of book one to a contest, and blissfully anticipated a quiet November, where most of my time would be dedicated to suctioning out the first draft of book two. But my plans were not God’s plans.

November became a month for life-altering changes: deaths, a birth, a new job, and planning a move back to my home state.  Beautiful and haunting moments filled with intermittent flashes of grief, joy, and a deeper appreciation for family and the people with which we choose to spend our limited time on Earth.

My heart aches for all those facing empty chairs and empty beds this Christmas.

Celebrate every tiny measure of joy with those you hold dear and when the rain comes, splash in the puddles, throw your head back and twirl in the downpour. God’s got you.


Cover Reveal for ‘Common’

Laurie Lucking, a friend and fellow ACFW member, weaves fairy tale romance into fantasy adventure stories for young adults. Her debut novel, ‘Common’, is scheduled to release in February 2018. And I’m thrilled to share the beautiful cover design for her book.

Congratulations, Laurie! I am so happy for you!

Without further ado…

About ‘Common’

One person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Author Bio

An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting

NaNoWriMo 2017

November is NaNoWriMo! This will be my second year (third, if you count participating in Camp NaNoWriMo the year before last). I have yet to ‘win’, but I will not stop trying!

For those who may not know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.  It is a challenge for writers to crank out fifty thousand words during the month of November. Succeeding means you win.  While there aren’t any glamorous prize packages, there are discounts offered to winners and, of course, there is the sense of accomplishment.  If you are interested in giving it a go, sign up on their website here. (Feel free to add me as a buddy, search for kabc.)

This year, my goal is to draft the second book in my middle-grade science fiction series!

If you are wondering what happened to the first book, I will be finalizing edits in December.  There are a couple of contests that prevent me from sharing more on social media. However, in my first official newsletter going out in December, I will be sharing a sneak peek from one of the chapters, deep in the first book.  Be sure to sign up before then, and, as a thank you for subscribing, you’ll also get a free copy of my flash fiction story, “Rocket City”.

Sign up for my newsletter here.

I’m off to burrow into my hobbit hole and get some serious writing done.