Monday, August 1, 2016

Hidden Gems Begins! Introducing ... Kathrese McKee

My friends and readers, I am immensely pleased to announce that this very day is the first Monday of my blog event, Hidden Gems: Authors You Need to Discover! I'm so excited to share with you some of my favorite (lesser-known) authors and their marvelous novels! ^_^

(Feel free to share this picture anywhere on social media, to spread the word)

Pop in every Monday, from now until November 21st, 2016, to find a different author being interviewed/spotlighted ... lots of book stuff ... and, of course, book giveaways! You won't regret it! *winks*

I'm thrilled to announce that YA, fantasy author, Kathrese McKee, is our first guest!

Reasons I Think This Author Is One You Need to Discover:

  • Books are Christian Fantasy (that's always a reason to read them, in my humble opinion, haha)
  • Adventurous, Captivating, & Dramatic; Humorous, Unique, & Sweet
  • Princesses and Pirates! *grins*
  • Just Superb Fantasy - Thrilling, Fresh, and Well-written
  • Awesome Characters, whom You Love Journeying Alongside
  • Sweet, Young-Adult Romance


Introducing ... Kathrese McKee

Texas author, KATHRESE MCKEE, writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life’s difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.

Once upon a time, Kathrese worked as a systems engineer for EDS and various oil and gas companies. Then, she taught Reading and ESL at the middle school level. These days, she edits fiction, home schools her children, and turns a blind eye to the feral dust bunnies lurking beneath her desk. Find her at


~ MARDAN'S MARK Series ~

Death is not their deepest fear.

Abducted by pirates and taken behind enemy lines across the Great Gulf, Princess Srilani is determined to save her sisters and younger brother, the crown prince, from captivity.

She convinces their caretaker, Aldan, and his brother slaves to share the perilous journey home. This ragtag group of unlikely heroes sets out on a quest—pursued by cutthroat pirates, merciless priests, and marauding soldiers—to return the heir to his kingdom before war breaks out.

In this epic adventure fantasy, Srilani and Aldan risk everything to save a prince and a nation, discovering along the way that death is not their deepest fear.

Lady Elilan heals people. Or does she?

The fever is back, and people in Northern Marst are dying. After Elilan’s husband dies under her care, she abandons her divine gift of healing. What good is the “gift” if she can’t save those she loves?

Her faith is put to the test when the king commands her to nurse a seriously wounded enemy soldier back to health. Will she rely on her knowledge of medicine or entrust her patient’s life—and her good name—to the One who gave her the gift she has neglected?

Elilan must decide what she really believes when death threatens again.

Mardan's Anointed {Mardan's Mark #2}. . . COMING SOON!


Author Interview

Kathrese: Hello, Shantelle! Thanks for asking me over to “your house” to talk about writing and books. I’m so pleased to be invited.

What’s one of the best things about being an author?

Kathrese: One of the best things about being an author is eating at your desk and wearing stretchy pants. Ha! I’m only half kidding. Actually, I enjoy delving into people—their beliefs, their motives, and their emotions and thoughts. What makes people tick? Why do they do the (strange) things they do? But since it’s not polite to be poke into other peoples’ business, I dig into the inner lives of my fictional characters instead.

What made you decide to start writing?

Kathrese: I have always enjoyed writing, but don’t worry. Even if you didn’t enjoy writing for school, writing stories is much more fun. And guess what? You don’t have to be great at spelling and grammar either. There are these people called “editors” who exist to help writers with those pesky, little details.

Writing wasn’t so much a decision as a necessary part of my life. But it took me a long time to get up the nerve to write fiction for other people to read.

Why do you write?

Kathrese: I’m going to change that question to this: "Why do you write fiction?" The main reason I write fiction is to offer teens and young adults entertaining, exciting, and thoughtful stories that don’t glorify harmful choices.

There’s plenty of YA fiction that centers around topics like drug and alcohol abuse, sexual experimentation, the occult, and so on. Self-destructive behavior and immoral choices get too much page time, and often, those negative behaviors get glamorized. I know this because I taught Reading in a middle school for four years.

What I saw on our school library shelves opened my eyes. As a parent and a teacher, I thought these topics were treated far too lightly in books that were available to students who were as young as eleven years old. I asked myself: Are you going to shrug it off, or are you going to do something about it?

I picked up my pen and started writing for a purpose. That’s my really serious answer.

The other reason I write is that creating stories is fun—really hard, often tortuous, exhausting fun.

What do you do for fun?

Kathrese: I love going to the movies. I enjoy taking long car trips. And of course, I love READING. Did I mention that I like books? It’s an expensive habit, but I can’t seem to stop.

What writing project are you working on right now?

Kathrese: I am finishing the second, full-length novel in the Mardan’s Mark series. Mardan’s Anointed takes up right where Mardan’s Mark left off.

Mardan’s Anointed has been fairly tough to write due to the necessity of weaving together the time lines for Srilani and Aldan. You will understand when it comes out. But I can tell you that Srilani comes face-to-face with her responsibilities as princess, and Aldan must dare to do the impossible. No spoilers!

I just replaced the covers for Mardan’s Mark and Healer’s Curse, its companion novella. Aren’t they pretty?

What does your writing process look like?

Kathrese: I use Scrivener to lay out the book’s chapters and scenes to the best of my knowledge before I start writing. When I outline a scene, I find it helpful to begin with dialogue and ignore action and thoughts as much as possible.

Another method I use is to tell myself the story in present tense: “Angie answers the door and is alarmed to see Ted.” Some writers call that writing the beats. Either method keeps me from diving into the narrative without a plan; writing without a map is the surest way for me to discover that I’ve “driven” to Juneau when I meant to go to LA.

When do you usually write?

Kathrese: I usually write in the mornings at my standing/sitting desk in my office. I frequently stand up to write so that I can dance to the music in my earbuds.

Thanks for inviting me to be included in the Hidden Gems series on your blog, Shantelle. I know you’ve read and reviewed my books, so I just want to say thank you for that, too. I am honored to be included with all the other authors you will be interviewing the next few weeks. I can hardly wait to read what they say about their stories and writing adventures.

Thank you so much for being here, Kathrese! I so enjoyed having you, and hope this blog post helps more people find your novels! Praying God brings along the audience He would have read your books. ^_^

Connect Further with Kathrese McKee:


Enter the rafflecopter form below to have a chance to win Mardan’s Mark and Healer’s Curse. You will win BOTH paperbacks because, hey, they go together. Have fun reading them, and remember to leave reviews. *smiles* Beware of pirates!

***One Winner. USA ENTRIES ONLY.***
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. YAY! I'm so excited about this Hidden Gems thing kicking off! :D (When I realized it was August 1st, I immediately hopped over here to see your first post! ^_^)

    Mardan's Mark and co. sound really interesting! Love me some Christian fantasy (with pirates and princesses. ;)). Also really enjoyed the review! Great questions and answers, Shantelle and Kathrese! Also hurray for fellow Texan writers. :)

    Thanks also for the lovely giveaway and the chance to enter for great books. ^_^

    EEK I'M SO EXCITED. This blog series is going to be so much fun! Great start and I look forward to the rest! :)

    1. EEP! Me too, Deborah! So happy to hear that! :D

      Fantasy, pirates, princesses ... can it get any better?? ;D You should definitely give Mardan's Mark a try! It's sooo good! ^_^ And thank you!

      The interview was such fun! I'm so glad Kathrese could be here! :)

      For sure! Hope you can win one of the giveaway during this blog series! :D :D

      THANK YOU! Can't wait to share more!!! :) :)

  2. I am also very excited to follow along this Hidden Gems series!! And a fun post to kick it off with! :)
    I've read Mardan's Mark, and it is quite the (good) adventure!

    1. Thank you, Raechel! The excitement of you all is making my day! ^_^ Yep, it is!! And thank you! Hope you enjoy the next ones as well!! :) :)

  3. Replies
    1. They are!! I think you would enjoy them, Natasha! :)

  4. Yay!! I am so excited!! These books look really awesome!

    1. Wahoo!! Excitement everywhere!! :D Hope you can read these books someday! :)

  5. Hidden Gems is such a great idea! I have a feeling my TBR might grow a bit during the course of this series...

    I might actually have Marden's Mark on my Kindle, but I haven't read it yet. In any case, it looks really good!

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    1. Thank you, Serena! I've been pretty excited about starting it! And of course ... growing TBRs are a good thing! ...Right? ;D Hope you find some good books through this! ^_^

      It is so very good! You should look it up on your kindle and read it! :D I'm sure you will enjoy it! :) :)

  6. I've not read these books yet but they are on my "to read" list. I love the covers! Can't wait to read them:) ~Moriah

    1. They do have awesome covers, Moriah! :) And they're such good books! Can't wait for you to read them too!! :D

  7. Yay! So excited. Can't wait to add my posts! :)

    I've been wanting to check out Mardan's Mark for awhile now.

    1. So excited too, Claire! And very excited you're going to be part! :) :) Wahoo!

      You totally should! :D It's great!!

  8. Awesome! I LOVE finding new authors! Thanks Shantelle!

    1. Yay! Glad I could help! :D And me too!!! You're welcome, Polaris! :)

  9. Replies
    1. Yes!! So glad for all the excitement!! :D :)

  10. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and encouragement. Beware of pirates!

    1. :D Can't wait for them all to go you adventures, Kathrese, and meet pirates!! ;) ^_^

  11. These books look fantastic! Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. They are, Bree! I hope you will get a chance to read them! :) You're welcome! Best wishes! ^_^

  12. So excited to see Kathrese's books being spotlighted here! And this Hidden Gems event is a brilliant idea, Shantelle. If you are doing this event next year too, I hope I can be a part of it (providing my book publishes in time). :)

    1. Yay!! Her books are so good, aren't they? ^_^ Aw, thank you!! :) I've been having so much fun with Hidden Gems! I'll have to do it again next year if everybody seems to be liking it! :) Ah yes, that would be fun! Best wishes! ^_^